Gov’t sued for defying court order to restore TV transmission

Gov’t sued for defying court order to restore TV transmission

The government has now been sued for defying a court order to restore the broadcast of Citizen TV, Inooro TV, KTN News and NTV.

In the contempt of court proceedings filed Monday afternoon at the Milimani Law Courts, activist Okiya Omtata wants the court to cite relevant authorities and persons for contempt of court.

“This application, criminal contempt, is the doing of any another act which scandalizes or tends to scandalize, or lower the judicial authority or dignity of the court,” reads the application.

Omtatah wants the matter be heard ex-parte and be certified as urgent.

He argues that the Communications Authority of Kenya was duly and effectively served with the court orders issued last week.

He cited all the CA directors including the Chairman of the board directors Ben Ngene Gituku, Sam Iteere (PS ICT) , Karanja Kibicho (PS internal Security), Kamau Thugee (PS Treasury) and others.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi and his ICT counterpart Joe Mucheru have also been cited for contempt of court.

Omtatah argues that the respondents have failed to act within the law, which he says must be strictly followed in the affairs of the 1st-3rd respondents.

“The respondents must be stopped from ignoring the rule of law which is a key national value and principle of govornonce,” argues Omtatah.

High Court Judge Chacha Mwita on Friday last week directed the Communications Authority of Kenya to restore transmissions of the TV stations that were switched off on January 30 for airing the ‘swearing in’ of NASA leader Raila Odinga.

The court also issued a conservatory order barring the government from interfering with all television transmission before the hearing of the case that is set for 14th February 2018.

The government has, however, continued to ignore the order with State agencies frustrating the process of serving them with the court order suspending the TV shutdown.

Omtatah is also seeking an order for compensation of the media houses for loss incurred during the switch off.

He argues that the respondents’ action violates the right to freedom of expression by limiting freedom of expression.

“The respondents action violates the prohibition in article 34(2) which bars the state from exercising control over or interfering with any person engaged in broadcasting the production or circulation of any publication,” reads court documents.

He further says that the public’s right to information under article 35 of the Constitution is directly affected since the switch off has curtailed the public right of access to information broadcast by the media houses.