Royal Media Services (RMS)’s Citizen TV and Inooro TV are finally back on air 10 days after the Communications Authority of Kenya shut them down alongside NTV and KTN News for disregarding a government directive not to livestream NASA leader Raila Odinga’s installation as the “People’s President” on Tuesday last week.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i said the stations would remain closed as the government investigates circumstances surrounding Raila’s swearing in so as to bring those culpable of illegalities committed to book.
The decision to switch them back came a day before Matiang’i and his ICT counterpart Joe Mucheru were to appear in court to state why they should not be cited for contempt of court.
It also came a day after Chief Justice David Maraga, in a hard hitting statement, said obeying court orders was not an option and judges and magistrates were at liberty to punish institutions and individuals who do so.
Matiang’i said the TV stations were switched off after their owners and managers disregarded a security brief they had been given prior to the event, saying intelligence pointed at plans to massacre those attending the Uhuru Park function and then laying the blame at the police.
He claimed some individuals in the media were part of the NASA plot to “subvert or overthrow the legally constituted Government of the Republic of Kenya.”
NTV and KTN News were switched back on Monday but Citizen TV and Inooro remained off air.
It was understood at the time that the decision to keep them shut was a result of a court case filed by RMS, its owner SK Macharia and ADN, which was seeking compensation for lose of business as a result of the shutdown.
The two stations’ transmission was restored at around 4.05 pm on Thursday though it was not immediately clear whether it was as a result of a new court order.
High Court Judge Chacha Mwita had on Wednesday last week ordered that all the four stations be switched on following an application filed by human rights crusader Okiya Omtatah.
However, Omtatah was unable to serve the Communications Authority after security agents barred him and his court process server at its entrance. He, however, managed to serve both Matiang’i, his ICT counterpart Joe Mucheru and Attorney General Githu Muigai.
The TV shutdown and a vicious crackdown on Opposition elements, including the deportation of lawyer Miguna Miguna to Canada, has been the subject of local and international condemnation with the government being accused of infringing freedoms and rights enshrined in the 2010 Constitution of Kenya.