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security laws in Kenya

Updated on December 17, 2014

Should content on the media be regulated when it comes to security issues?

A new bill was just passed in parliament last week about the security laws in this country.one of the most controversial laws that has been addressed is monitoring of media when it comes to security issues. Apparently, last year, during the west gate attack by terrorists, a well-known media group published green freshly killed bodies on the front page of a newspaper, and flashed images on the television days on end. Mind you, this was done during the day, for mostly the whole weekend because the attack had happened on a Saturday.

After being confronted about the issue, the media group apologized to the public to subjecting children and everyone in general to such psychological torture. Barely sixteen months later, the same media group splashed images of the latest Mandera attack, where terrorists killed around fifty six people, on different occasions, on the front pages again.

The media group had no sensitivity at all about the whole thing. The problem I have with this is that it spreads fear among people, and a lot of trauma. I do not, however, recommend gagging the media or anything of sorts. All I ask is not to expose people to such gruel images and reporting it constantly. Report the truth, but focusing constantly on attacks basically helps terrorist accomplish their mission; that of spreading fear.

The new security laws suggest that a fine, not more than five million Kenyan shillings, which is about fifty six thousand US dollars, be acquired from any media house that publishes insensitive images and especially so, concerning security. After all, we are in a war, and however helps the terrorists willingly or unknowingly, is giving them an upper hand.

The downside with this, however is that these laws can be manipulated by people in power to gag the media. Some say that this will send us back to some pretty dark ages. Well, I don’t agree with them all the way, but there is truth in what they say. What do you think should be done?

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