This week, a case was filed in the High Court of Kenya in Nairobi, which was brought forth by multiple parties against Ezra Chiloba, Director General of ICT watchdog the Communications Authority of Kenya, and the Attorney General.
The case focused on a decision made by Chiloba to limit media freedom on ‘vague’ grounds, which the parties argued was unconstitutional.
This followed a warning that was sent by DG Chiloba, citing that some media houses, including Citizen TV and NTV provided coverage of protests that breached the Programming Code.
According to Chiloba, the broadcast portrayed images that had the potential to create alarm or provoke the public, endangering the country’s peace and unity.
The ex-parte applicants in the case were the Katiba Institute, the Law Society of Kenya, the Kenya Union of Journalists, and the Kenya Editors Guild.
They were involved in the case as interested parties who sought to protect media freedom and uphold constitutional rights.
The applicants argued that Chiloba’s decision to limit media freedom was unconstitutional and violated fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and access to information.
In its ruling, the High Court of Kenya at Nairobi found that Chiloba’s decision was indeed unconstitutional and violated fundamental rights.
The court has since ordered Chiloba to revoke his decision within 24 hours and provide copies of letters sent to six media houses, as well as minutes and recordings from the Authority meeting where he made his decision.
This ruling is significant because it upholds constitutional rights related to media freedom and access to information. It also demonstrates that decisions made by government officials must be based on clear grounds and cannot be arbitrary or vague.