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President rejects media law as threat to press freedom

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders hails President Mwai Kibaki's refusal on 22 August 2007 to sign a media bill into law on the grounds that a last-minute amendment limiting the confidentiality of sources posed a threat to press freedom.

"By refusing to give his assent to this law, President Kibaki has shown a real desire to defend the press freedom that has been achieved in Kenya," the organisation said. "The confidentiality of sources is an essential principle. The law must now be revised and liberalized, and we hope the result will be more in line with international standards."

A consensus was achieved in the drafting of the bill but parliamentarian Karue Muriuki added a controversial amendment at the last moment, before the bill's approval on 2 August. Under this amendment, an editor could be forced to identify an anonymous source to the police or to a court.

Kibaki said the amendment ran counter to Kenya's "democratic efforts" in recent years and represented "an obstacle to press freedom."

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