Joe Mucheru refuses to explain TV switch-off during Raila oath

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has refused to explain switch-off of four private TV stations during Raila Odinga’s mock swearing-in in late January.

Mr Mucheru on Tuesday told the Senate Committee on Information and Communication Technology that he did not have answers because the blackout was “a national security issue.”

Instead, he asked MPs to seek answers from the National Security Council, chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) on January 30 switched off the signals of NTV owned by Nation Media Group, KTN News owned by The Standard Group, and Citizen TV and Inooro TVboth owned by Royal Media Services Limited.

The switch-off came barely a day after the Kenya Editors Guild accused President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto of undermining the independence.

The blackout was preceded by a meeting held at State House, Nairobi, in which the media was warned against covering the Nasa event.

Article 34 of the Constitution guarantees media freedom and says that the state shall not exercise control over or interfere with any person engaged in broadcasting, the production or circulation of any publication or the dissemination of information by any medium; or penalise any person for any opinion or view or the content of any broadcast, publication or dissemination.

Contacted for comment over the shutdown, ICT Cabinet Secretary Mr Mucheru said: “Switched off by who? I am not talking to the media.”

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