World Association of News Publishers

Protest Campaign - Kenya, 8 November 2013

Protest Campaign - Kenya, 8 November 2013

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His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta
President of Kenya,
Nairobi, Kenya


8 November 2013 / @UKenyatta

Your Excellency,


We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our serious concern at a proposed media law that could lead to severe financial sanctions against journalists, publishers and broadcasters for breaching a code of conduct, and even barring journalists from working.

According to reports, on 31 October 2013 the Kenyan parliament voted to set up a Communications and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal to draw up a code of conduct for the press. The Tribunal would have the power to impose fines of up to 20 million Kenyan shillings (about US$234,000) on offenders and bar journalists from working. The bill would also introduce strict controls on broadcasters, with radio and TV stations obliged to ensure that 45-percent of programme content and advertising is locally made.

We are seriously concerned that the proposed law could be used to gag the press under the pretext of protecting national security in the wake of the September attack on the Westgate shopping mall.

We respectfully remind you that in May, the Pan African Parliament – of which Kenya is a member – approved the Midrand Declaration on Press Freedom in Africa. The Declaration draws on a variety of African protocols, articles and declarations, including Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights and WAN-IFRA’s Declaration of Table Mountain, which calls for greater press freedom in Africa.

We respectfully call on you to reject the proposed media law. We urge you to do everything in your power to ensure that your country’s laws fully respect the letter and spirit of the Midrand Declaration and Kenya’s other international obligations to freedom of expression.

Furthermore, we note your presence at the African Media Leaders Forum this week in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, and urge you to use this platform to address the concerns regarding media freedoms before Africa’s foremost media leaders.


We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.


Yours sincerely,


Tomas Brunegård
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Erik Bjerager
World Editors Forum



WAN-IFRA is the global organization for the world’s newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organization groups 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.


cc: Commissioner of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Faith Pansy Tlakula


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2013-11-07 17:25

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...