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GOVERNMENT LIFTS BAN, CAUTIONS MEDIA

The Kenya government unconditionally lifted the month-long ban on live broadcasting yesterday, reports the Media Institute.

On 4 February, a memo faxed to newsrooms from the Minister for Internal Security said the suspension was to be lifted with immediate effect "in view of the improved situation."

The government's action came on the eve of the hearing of a lawsuit filed by the Media Institute and the Kenya Editors Guild, challenging the legal basis for the ban. Lawyers for both parties appeared in court on 5 February and agreed the suit was settled.

The ban was imposed on 30 December, after President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner in what international and local observers called "seriously flawed" elections. The controversial result triggered unprecedented protests and ethnic violence that has claimed more than 1,000 lives and led to international mediation by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Addressing a press conference a day after the ban was lifted, Information Minister Samuel Poghisio urged the media to be vigilant against inflammatory content. He said that the government would form a task force to probe the conduct of the media around the elections and consider rigorous vetting of foreign correspondents.

Visit these links:
- Media Institute: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/90511/
- IFEX Communiqué, "Media being silenced as political crisis intensifies" (29 January): http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/90350/
(5 February 2008)

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