Nairobi,KENYA: Three TV stations KTN News, Citizen TV and NTV have been shut down.
The three stations were visibly off air on free to air channels on Tuesday morning amid allegations that top government officials had threatened to switch off stations that would air the swearing in of the NASA leader Raila Odinga and Kalaonzo Musyoka.
The first station to be switched off was Citizen Tv and its vernacular sister station Inooro TV which broadcasts in the Kikuyu language.
NTV was later switched off and KTN news which broke the news of the two stations being switched off was also switched off too.
Confirming the switching off, the Managing Director at Royal Media Services the parent company to Citizen TV and Inooro TV Wachira Waruru, accused the Communication Authority of Kenya of disconnecting the station’s transmission signals.
“There has been no official communication as to why this action was taken.We are actively engaging the relevant government authorities to establish for this action,’’ the company said in a statement.
NTV reporter Ken Mijungu who was speaking at Limuru where their transmission mast is located confirmed that their station had been switched off.
The Standard Media Group which is the parent company of KTN news have also confirmed that they have been switched off on free to air platforms.
On Monday, reports emerged that media managers had been summoned to a meeting attended by president Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, The attorney general Githu Muigai and Interior cabinet secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’I where they were threatened with switching off and revoke of licences should they air live the NASA swearing in.
Chairman of The Kenya Editors’ Guild, Linus Kaikai said a few editors were summoned to State House where President Uhuru Kenyatta threatened to close and revoke the licences of any media house that would publicize the event live.
“We have just learnt today that on Friday last week, a section of media managers and select editors from the main media houses were quietly summoned to a meeting at the State House, Nairobi, the objectives which were unknown. But the proceedings should be clear cause for alarm to the media and the public.” Kaikai said.
However, Kaikai’s statement was contradicted by the Vice-chairman Samuel Maina. Maina who attended the meeting said at no point did the President threaten to gag the media.
“What is being termed as a “dress down” is a misrepresentation of facts. We had a fruitful discussion and we all agreed that media freedom has to be accompanied by a high degree of responsibility. At no point were any threats issued to media houses or any ultimatums given on how we choose to broadcast matters of public interest, or those relating to the current political situation in the country,” Maina said.