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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 August 2007, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
Kenya's media in gagged protest
Kenyan journalists with gags
Journalists say anonymous sources have helped expose major scandals
Kenyan journalists have staged a silent protest through the streets of the capital against a media law that would compel them to disclose their sources.

Hundreds of journalists taped their mouths and carried placards asking President Mwai Kibaki to reject it.

Kenya's attorney-general on Tuesday pledged to advise the president not to assent the proposed law passed by MPs.

Last year, a newspaper and TV station were raided in a move described as an attack on press freedom.

Armed masked policemen stormed the Standard newspaper's printing press and switched off KTN for allegedly inciting ethnic hatred.

'Harassed'

Civil society leaders and politicians have been urging the president to reject the bill which critics say plans to frustrate the media's independence.

Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki
Mr Kibaki has had an uneasy media relationship since last year's raid

Journalists say they have in the past used their anonymous sources to expose some of the country's major scandals.

"For years journalists in Kenya have been harassed by the government and today were out to prove that those days are gone and the president has got the message," Frank Ojiambo, an editor with the Daily Nation newspaper told the BBC News website.

Some 300 journalists marched to the attorney-general's office in Nairobi's central business district and presented a memorandum to Amos Wako's representative.

They also presented a memorandum to Assistant Information Minister Koigi Wamwere in parliament.

Critics claim that the bill is not representative of parliament, as it was passed by only 29 out of 222 MPs.

The law also proposes an independent media council to arbitrate complaints against the press.

But just before the National Assembly's final vote more than a week ago, a lawmaker added a clause giving courts powers to force journalists to reveal their sources or unnamed individuals quoted in a story.

The MP, Muriuki Karue, argued that journalists often defame prominent people and the clause is ideal to protect the individuals, but has since retracted his decision.

The government is trying to push through a series of bills through the house before it dissolves in the next few weeks

On Wednesday, the parliament rejected a bill that aims to reserve 50 seats for women in the legislature.




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