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Mombasa, January 02, 2009

President assents to Communications Bill

President Mwai Kibaki has today signed in to law the Communications Amendment Bill 2008, that was passed by Parliament on 10TH December last year.

In a statement released at state house Mombasa this evening, President Kibaki said he assented to the bill on the strength of its critical importance to this country`s economic development especially in regard to regulation of all electronic transactions.

The President said he carefully considered the concerns raised by the media industry which mainly relate to section 88 of the Kenya communication act 1998, which gives the government power to restrict Media operations during a state of emergency.

The Head of State said he personally took note of the fact that Section 88 is not part of the Kenya Communication Amendment Bill, 2008.

"This section is in fact contained in a separate Act, the Kenya Communications Act 1998.Therefore by refusing to assent to this bill; I will not have addressed this concern of the Media. Accordingly, I urge all stake holders to address the issue separately," President Kibaki said.

Considering the fact that there was wide consensus among the stakeholders that the Kenya Communications Bill, 2008 addresses issues of critical importance to the country`s economic development especially in regard to all electronic transaction, President Kibaki underscored the successful M-PESA electronic transaction which has so far employed over 12,000 Kenyans within one year of its operation.

The Head of State pointed out that the Business Processing and Outsourcing (BPO) sub sector has created over 5000 jobs so far and the enactment of the new law would enhance investor confidence and lead to more jobs and economic benefits especially for the youth.

"Indeed, by and large, the regulation of the electronic transactions in Kenya creates room for pursuit ideals if Vision 2030 while regulating the electronic media would promote and safe guard our culture, morals and nationhood," the Head of State said.

Reitarating his Governments commitment to the ideals of Press Freedom and Democracy, President Kibaki assured the media and the public in general that the country will not roll back on the gains made with regard the ideals of Press freedom and democracy.

He, however, appealed to the media to recognize that freedom must go hand in hand with responsibility.

The Head of State emphasized that while press freedom is a cardinal pillar of democracy, it is a right that carries with it special duties and responsibilities, adding that Press Freedom must therefore be counterbalanced with other freedoms and must at all times take into account the overriding interest and the safety of Kenyans.




©2009 State House, Nairobi Kenya