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Muturi: We won't gag the media

08 September 2014, 14:06 Ben Wafula

Bungoma - The National Assembly Speaker, Justin Muturi, has urged journalists to stop panicking over the passing of Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Bill 2014 that will stifle public expression concerning the performance and conduct of Members of Parliament, saying the offending clauses will be worked on before it is enacted.

Speaking during a fundraising drive in aid of St. Anthony Boy's High School in Sirisia Bungoma over the Weekend, Muturi said that the Members of Parliament are experts in handling Bills before they are passed and assured the media not to panic over the Bill because it will not punish them.

The Bill to gag journalists has been tabled in the National Assembly for discussion by Aldas MP, Adan Keynan, and is designed to stop critical reporting through a Government controlled regulator and heavy fines for individual journalists and Media houses.

If passed, the Bill will stifle Parliamentary reporting and gag civil societies from conducting any protests against Members of Parliament.

Muturi said that criticism against the Parliament is healthy for any good performance and assured journalists that the offensive clauses will be critically looked into before the Bill is passed into law.

"Criticism is healthy for any democratic space and Kenya has demonstrated that it offers a democratic coverage by journalists and Media houses," said the National Speaker.

He said that the Media is right in offering checks and balances and also criticize the MPs for them to perform.

"In the current world, you can't hide because at the end of the day you will be revealed. Let the media play its role while MPs play theirs so that we build this Country in a democratic way," revealed Muturi.

He said that MPs allowed for the live coverage of all the proceedings for the public to know the performance of their elected MPs.

"We are also going to allow for the coverage of all parliamentary committees' proceedings so that the public can understand the role their legislators play and all this is done by the media," said Muturi.

Sirisia MP, John Waluke, disclosed that he will work with the Jubilee government for the sake of development in his constituency.

"We have to be friends with the Government for us to develop or else we will remain poor. Yes, am in ODM but let me work with the ruling government for my people to benefit," he said.

Also Read: MP urges journalists to defend press freedom in court

However, he said that he supported the referendum push by Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) to bring enough money to the grassroots, and called on the concerned people to ensure they gather enough signatures in time.

Waluke said that the Bill by his colleague Adan Keynan is not healthy for the media practitioners and called on other MPs to debate it with sobriety to stop stifling media reporting.

This Bill has come at a wrong time and it will gag journalists from performing their duties; lets debate it with sobriety to stop more criticism," he said.

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