House Speaker Kenneth Marende made this statement in Parliament. He has been under fire for making the statement. But then, I guess, that's what I would have done. People do perish because of lack of knowledge and it's very bad when emotions take over journalism.
For real. People are people.
Here is the statement in full:
COMMUNICATION FROM THE CHAIR
BANNING OF RADIO AFRICA MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES
FROM PRECINCTS OF PARLIAMENT
13th July, 2010
Hon. Members will recall that on 6th July, 2010, the hon. Shakeel rose on a point of order in which he informed the House that on a radio broadcast aired that morning on the radio station Kiss FM, the presenters had made remarks that were demeaning to the Office of the Speaker and this House as a whole. Hon. Shakeel sought the directions of the Chair as to the action that ought to be taken in that instance.
Hon. Members, the media is an important facet of our democracy. So important is the media that it has often been referred to as “the Fourth Organ of Government” or “the Fourth Estate” due to its increasing influence over public opinion as well as its direct and indirect influence in the workings of the organs of Government.
Traditionally, the Press has served as the voice of the people by keeping the Government in check. This is a role whose significance cannot be over-emphasized, particularly with regard to the National Assembly. Hon. Members, you are aware, in recognition of the central role played by the media, the National Assembly has over time sought to enhance the relationship between the House and the media.
Our Standing Orders, which were adopted by this House on 10th December, 2008, made a deliberate attempt to ensure that the media is facilitated as it continues to discharge its mandate concerning the National Assembly.
Among other things, the Standing Orders allow the media to cover not just the proceedings of the House, but also of the Committees of the House. In further seeking to facilitate the media, the House has taken steps to establish and equip a Media Centre within the precincts of the House.
This House has engaged a Media Relations Officer at a senior level, who serves as a liaison between the National Assembly and the media. These developments have, indeed, enriched the interface between the National Assembly and the media.
Hon. Members, the Chair has had occasion in previous Communications to this
House to note that the relationship between the media and the National Assembly is predicated on a delicate balance of power and responsibility. Both the National Assembly and the media must ensure that they discharge their functions and relate with each other in a manner that best serves the interests of our country. In particular, the dignity of this House and its Members, must at all times continue to be protected.
Hon. Members, I have carefully studied a transcript of the radio broadcast by Kiss FM aired on the morning of 6th July, 2010 and the point of order raised by the hon. Shakeel.
I have noted that the subject of discussion in that transcript was the question of the terms and conditions of service of Members of Parliament, which had been deliberated in this House in the afternoon of 30th June, 2010 in a Motion on the adoption of the Report of the Akiwumi Tribunal to review the terms and conditions of service of Members and staff of Parliament.
Hon. Members, this House and its Members enjoy a number of Parliamentary privileges, critical for the proper functioning of the Legislature.
These privileges seek to protect the House and its Members from undue interference as it discharges its mandate.
At Westminster and in many jurisdictions similar to ours, it is the accepted law and practice that indignities directed at the Legislature by words spoken or writings published reflecting on its character or proceedings, are punished by the Legislature upon the principle that such acts of abuse tend to obstruct the Legislature in the performance of its functions by diminishing the respect due to it.
As hon. Members are aware, the Standing Orders enjoin the Chair to make certain decisions based on usages, forms, precedence, customs, procedures and traditions of the National Assembly of Kenya and other jurisdictions to the extent that these are applicable to Kenya.
Hon. Members, this House has shown tremendous restraint in its dealings with the media on the clear understanding that the media constitutes an integral partner to all organs of Government and the Legislature in particular, in matters of governance. There are, however, minimum bounds that must be set and adhered to. In the present matter, the
Chair finds that the broadcast by Kiss FM aired on the morning of 6th July, 2010 did not meet the barest minimum bounds of good taste and civility. It was intended or had the effect of demeaning if not all together insulting the House as a whole and certain Members of it in particular.
Hon. Members, in dealing with this affront on the House, I wish to borrow from the precedence set by my predecessor on 26th April, 2006, by directing that commencing forthwith Kiss FM and all media representatives of Radio Africa be and are hereby excluded from the Press Gallery, Press Center, Parliamentary Committees, Press conferences and within the precincts of the National Assembly for a period of two months or until further orders from the Chair.
I further direct that the Clerk of the National Assembly and the Chief-Serjeant-at-Arms take all measures necessary to implement this directive beginning now.
Finally, hon. Members, it is important to point out that the action taken by the
Chair does not prejudice the right of any Member of this House who is individually aggrieved by the broadcast from taking legal action in accordance with the laws of this country.
I thank you.