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Control FM radio stations, says politician

Monday December 29 2008

By DANIEL NYASSY

A member of Parliament has asked the Government to control vernacular FM stations to prevent violence similar to that which rocked the country after the December 2007 General Election.

Mr Gideon Mung’aro said such stations had great influence and if not properly used, could easily spark violence.

According to the Malindi MP, the media were largely to blame for the post-election violence that nearly destroyed Kenya.

However, he asked President Kibaki not to sign the Kenya Communication (Amendment) Bill into law in its current form. In his view, the contentious sections of the Bill should be amended before it can become law.

“A certain degree of freedom of the press is OK but absolute freedom is dangerous,” he told journalists at St Anthony Catholic Cathedral on Sunday.

“That is why I am advocating for some control of the media like it happens in other countries.”

Vulgar language

He said some media outlets had influenced Kenyans negatively, citing programmes that featured half-naked entertainers who used vulgar language.

“Some FM and TV stations have stopped to care about children and the family,” Mr Mung’aro said.

“They broadcast vulgar language and indecent programmes which have had a toll on children. This is what should be controlled.”

According to him, the current law on broadcasting has existed for 10 years but the clause giving the Government power to seize broadcasting equipment has never been used “except by former Security minister John Michuki”.

However, the minister did not invoke the law when he ordered the raid on the Standard Group in 2006.