Kenya's top TV stations still off the air amid crackdown

Judge Chacha Mwita also barred the government from interfering with the signals and said the conservatory orders will remain until the matter is heard and determined on February 14.

The government shut down three independent TV stations with about 50 per cent of the audience share because they sought to broadcast the "illegal" mock swearing-in of Raila Odinga, the opposition leader, as president.

A popular TV news anchor in Kenya says he and two other journalists were forced to spend the night in their newsroom to avoid arrest as a government crackdown on media continues for coverage of the opposition leader's mock inauguration.

Also Friday, police arrested a second lawyer who had stood beside Odinga during Tuesday's ceremony, attended by tens of thousands of supporters, that was meant to protest what the opposition considers rigged elections previous year.

"This is clearly a slide to dictatorship".

In African states with entrenched rulers such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon, governments have asked telecommunications companies to block social media, mainly during elections and protests.

"If the government does not comply with a court order that is so clear, it will raise questions as to the wider rule of law".

Odinga claims the election was rigged and that electoral reforms in the East African nation have not been made.

Interior CS Fred Matiang'i Thursday accused sections of the media of being accomplices of NASA's illegal schemes and maintained that they will remain closed until investigations are complete. Nearly all were killed by the police.

Miguna's arrest follows the detention and subsequent release by court on bail, of fellow lawmaker TJ Kanjwang, who also flanked Odinga at the inauguration.

Both are expected to be charged with treason and unlawful assembly. A repeat election was held on October 26, but Odinga boycotted it because he said the electoral commission had made insufficient reforms.

Kenyatta won a second presidential term with 98 per cent of the vote following a controversial election rerun in November.

"We want (ruling party) Jubilee to accept that they lost the election", he told a news conference, promising to release details of his plan the next day.

Also, the public's right to information under Article 35 is directly affected since the switch off curtailed the public's right of access to information broadcast by the three media houses. "I am a very reasonable Kenyan", Odinga said.

  • Jon Douglas