SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY HON. UHURU KENYATTA, C.G.H.

, PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA ON WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY AT KENYATTA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, NAIROBI ON 2ND MAY, 2014 Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, It has been over two decades since the UN General Assembly resolved to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom annually; to take stock of how the press performs its responsibilities; to defend the media from attacks on its independence; and to honour ournalists across the world! "enya takes especial pride in this day, for this concept was born on African soil, and it is a #ift from our continent to the rest of the world! $he day has been celebrated and honoured at the hi#hest levels of our Government! Last year, it was my pleasure to preside at the openin# of this #atherin#, ust as it was my predecessor%s pleasure to open discussion the year before! Ladies and Gentlemen, $he &indhoek meetin# in '((' at which the idea took shape, and at which our own ournalists and editors played a prominent role, accepted that the establishment and encoura#ement of a free and plural press is essential for democracy and development! In this, they were not alone) many years a#o, the Nobel laureate, Amartya *en, ar#ued powerfully that no democracy with a free press had ever su+ered a famine! $he &indhoek ,eclaration envisa#ed a press liberated from #overnment, political or economic control! -.ually, the ,eclaration stood a#ainst monopolies in the media industry, and defended the widest possible distribution of media! $hese are principles to which my #overnment is committed, and by which it has lived! $hat is partly because they are themselves principles with which our constitution is familiar! Indeed, my Government has lived up to Articles //, /0 and /1 of our supreme law! In settin# up re#ulations for the industry, it has been the #oal of my #overnment to ensure that the press is unbound by #overnment, but also by private, interests! $hat is the spirit in which the 2edia 3ouncil of "enya Act and the "enya Information and 3ommunication Act of last year were enacted! If our re#ulations are new, pride in this country%s robust media is old! &e have now had more than a century of printed media! $he record shows that they have been central actors in the history of our nation! $hey were there at the be#innin#, documentin# our colonial history! 4ou will recall that the 5rst President of the 6epublic was a ournalist and newspaper editor, whose newspaper was banned by the colonial authorities!

And yet, at the hei#ht of our stru##le for independence, he, and other e.ually coura#eous "enyan ournalists and writers, defended with their words and lives the ri#ht of our people to be free! $he "enyan ournalists of the past were amon# the heroes of our independence stru##le! &e remember and honour their contributions today! 7ur stru##le did not end with independence! At the dawn of our freedom, the youn# nation faced dauntin# challen#es! 7ur foundin# fathers pled#ed themselves to 5#ht a war a#ainst poverty, i#norance and disease! It is a war to which we fall heir, and which we must 5#ht as relentlessly as they did! Ladies and Gentlemen, $he media has been our partner in these battles!8ut if you are to 5#ht even more e+ectively than you do now, there must be institutional reform in the industry itself! &ith the #overnment #uaranteein# you the space to operate, it is your responsibility to ensure that you take advanta#e of this space! $hat is one reason why you must be trained to the utmost of your ability! Another is that "enya, and Africa, can ill a+ord ournalists who are not .uali5ed, or who do not observe the hi#hest ethical standards, and who do not operate within the law! $he very recent e9perience of our nei#hbours : e9perience that is within the memory of most of you here today : teaches us that careless or malicious ournalism can destroy a country! $here is no room here for absolute freedom of the press! $here is no room here for a freedom of the press that does not come with an e.ual challen#e for the media to be responsible! It is your ob as ournalists to check your facts, and after you have checked, to check a#ain! It is your ob as ournalists to know what the law re.uires, and to observe its demands! It is your ob always to keep by your side your own code of conduct and to refer to it before your story is written! &here this is not done, where you fail in your duties to yourselves, your profession and your countrymen, then the state must and will defend those who have no other way of protectin# themselves! &e will understand each other better if I o+er e9amples of what I mean! &e appreciate the ener#y and inventiveness with which you satirise us, most clearly, perhaps, on the ;4< *how and 8ulls% -ye, amon# others! $hese have #iven me pleasure over the years! 8ut the freedom you en oy has not always been used so well! In recent months, we have seen some deeply disappointin# headlines! I will pick two) one claimed that we had spent '== million shillin#s on our cabinet retreat, and another claimed that I had secretly and unlawfully e9tended the term of the 3hief of "enya%s ,efence >orces! $hese stories were wholly without foundation, and had the potential to harm the public welfare! $he falsehoods could have been avoided by a little more dili#ence and care on

your part! I trust you will take the advice to heart! $hese criticisms are not o+ered in a spirit of recrimination! &e realise that your work is di?cult, and that people of #oodwill can sometimes disa#ree about the content of a story! &e realise, also, that you are as keen as we are to serve the public interest! 8ut in the instances I have mentioned, you will concede that you fell below the hi#h standard you have already attained! 2y Government e9pects that the 2edia 3ouncil, and the 3ommunication Authority, will monitor and remedy your shortcomin#s in a spirit of fraternal correction! @ust as you will accept fair criticism we fall short of our standards, so too should you accept blame to when you fail to hit your mark! 7ur freedom to act is not unlimited, and neither is yours! I must also ur#e you remember that you are Africans! $his is our country; this is our continent, all of us! In the practice of ournalism, our media must reco#niAe that we are 5rst and always African! 7ur challen#e is to tell the African story from our African point of view! $his means standin# up for and defendin# African values, and the African e9perience, #ivin# it e9pression, #ivin# it a voice, and authenticatin# it! "enyan ournalists cannot a+ord and should not write about this country as if they lived on 2ars! 7ur e9perience in and with the media is still in Bu9; we must continue to debate the kind of media we have! $he time for a robust debate on how the media can contribute to national development, and the evolution of our social values, is now! 2y Government spends substantial sums to reach "enyans with basic publicC service information on such services as public health! $hese are matters in which my #overnment would like a closer partnership with the media, the better to improve the lives of our people! &e wish to see a situation where the electronic media, in pursuit of its information and educational role, and in keepin# faith with its social responsibility, provides free public service announcements to the "enyan people! $here is no reason whatsoever for any "enyan to remain i#norant of basic publicCservice information when we have nearly '== stations broadcastin# ri#ht across the country! Perhaps every broadcaster mi#ht wish to provide two minutes an hour to carry free public service announcements, addressin# matters of hy#iene in the community, dealin# with malaria , or educatin# the public with respect to our values as outlined in Article '= of our constitution! -.ually, as we stru##le with the DIEFAI,* situation in our country, the media would do well to partner with the #overnment by broadcastin#, as a service to the public, educational messa#es on the pandemic! $he re#ulatory authorities should lead us in this debate! 8ut a basic point to remember is that those who operate fre.uencies do so on behalf of the public! $he public collectively owns those airwaves, and those who bene5t from this public service should be seen to serve the ultimate owners of the airwaves!

Ladies and Gentlemen, $he country has made #reat e+orts to lay down the infrastructure we need to transmit information! 7ur #oal in landin# 5breCoptic cable at the 3oast, and layin# it throu#hout the country, was and remains, to promote the most rapid spread and e9ploitation of knowled#e! $hat is a sin#le, thou#h prominent, e9ample of the len#ths to which we are #oin# to moderniAe the country%s I3$ infrastructure! 4ou know, as well as I do, ust how vital this will be, both for our lives now, and for the development of this country! It is this moderniAation that hastens our #rowth, which brin#s the services of both levels of #overnment closer to "enyans, and which promises to brin# our economy to the point of takeCo+! 2y Government will continue to moderniAe and e9pand the I3$ infrastructure, and to improve access and .uality of service! Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, It is your responsibility to deploy this infrastructure : both that which we already have, and that which is to come : for the #reatest public bene5t! $he mi#ration from analo#ue to di#ital #ives us #reater room) room that should be used, in my view, to provide e9tra information; to provide more diverse information; and to provide far more local content of direct importance to "enyans! $here is no real reason why we cannot feature substantial a#ricultural information, lettin# our farmers plan their activities! $here is no obvious reason why the abundant information we possess about our environment should not make its way to our screens and radios! $here is no clear reason why the wealth of information available on early warnin# systems for drou#hts and Boods, or on public health, should not be made available to every "enyan who can read a newspaper, listen to a radio, or watch a $E! 8eyond the current obsessions with partisan politics, soap operas, and forei#n popular culture, this country%s media will need to 5nd and supply serious, responsible, analytical content that is directly relevant to "enyans! $he di#ital mi#ration is their opportunity! As that process continues, those who make policy must protect the public%s access to information! Investors in the media industry e9pect returns from their investment; they may be tempted to limit access to television and radio content to subscribers only! 8ut access to vital information is a basic ri#ht, and the media models we adopt must protect this ri#ht for our people! 7ur policies therefore will #uarantee that accessin# freeCtoCair broadcasts remain free! >ree universal access to .uality content will be #uaranteed! Ladies and Gentlemen) $here is also an ur#ent need for society itself to reason critically about the nature of our media! 7ur parents and teachers, priests and imams, the moral #uides of our society, must pay special attention to the media, and let us know when they #o wron#, ust as they will commend them when they do ri#ht! $he

relevant a#encies of my #overnment continue to e9plore policies that will properly socialiAe our youth in the use of media, especially new and social media! It will be useful to discuss how we can introduce our youths to media literacy classes at an early level, to let our youn# people access its opportunities responsibly! And now, Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, as you reBect on your achievements in the last year, I wish you well! I pled#e you #reater cooperation, more dialo#ue, and better access to the workin#s of #overnment! I invite you to play your watchdo# role responsibly, and to inform and entertain us with your usual ener#y! Above all, work to make this country, and this continent, all that it can be! A very happy &orld Press >reedom ,ay to you all! 2un#ua wabariki na awalinde nyote!

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