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Kalonzo warns of government plot move to “fix” the media

Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, one of the co-principals in the opposition Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Alliance, has warned of a Kenya Kwanza government move to fix the media.

Speaking yesterday in Nyamira County where he had gone to open his party’s offices alongside DAP-Kenya party leader Eugene Wamalwa, Mr Musyoka claimed that there was a move by the government to ‘fix’ legacy media houses such as Standard Group and Royal Media Services as well as regulate social media in the country.

“We are standing with the free media. We need to remain united and ensure that we continue to speak the truth to power. That is the only way we can ensure the country grows and the democratic space is maintained. The government is saying it wants to regulate TikTok. We see the government wants to fix Standard Media, it wants to fix Royal Media Services,” claimed Mr Musyoka.

His sentiment came hours after Kindiki Kithure, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior, revealed that the government had intentions of regulating Tik Tok in Kenya in order to protect sensitive data and the security of Kenyans.

“We are currently dealing with this matter of TikTok as the National Security Council. As you know, the Interior Ministry coordinates cyber security programme on behalf of the country. We as the National Police Service (NPS) and National Intelligence Service (NIS) are working with the Ministry of Defense and that of ICT to guard our cyber space from internal and external threats,” CS Kithure told Parliament.

Thus, the government is mulling over how to formulate policy on social media platforms such as TikTok with a view of limiting its use and whether or not to ban public officials from using TikTok to protect sensitive data. These Kenyan considerations also come after the United States of America moved closer to banning TikTok in the country with a bill that was passed by the House of Representatives earlier this week on Wednesday. American legislators argued that TikTok could allow the Chinese government to access user data and influence Americans. The legistlators believe the Chinese Communist Party secretly controls ByteDance, the company behind Tiktok.

On matters Kenya Kwanza ‘fixing’ Kenyan media, Kalonzo’s accusations also come in the wake of a storm brewing between the government and media after the latter withdrew government advertising from Nation Media Group and Standard Group’s newspapers; and only reserving them for Star Newspaper.

The Law Society of Kenya, the Kenya Editors Guild and the Kenya Union of Journalists sued the government for contracting the Star newspaper as its sole newspaper advertiser considering it prints and distributes the government’s MyGov pullout and the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation for tv and radio adverts, hence monopolizing information which “infringes on Kenyan’s rights to access to critical information.” The groups also accused the Principal Secretary, State Department for Broadcasting and Telecommunications, Mr Edward Kisinangani of flouting Kenya’s free market policy.

The petitioners also said PS Kisiangani’s moves amounted to controlling the media houses that get adverts to toe Kenya Kwanza government’s line.

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