The Kenyan high court ordered the restoration of three major television stations taken off air by the government this week over coverage of the Odinga swearing in as President.
The court has suspended the shutdown pending a February 14 court hearing challenging the decision to take the private stations off air, according to a court ruling.
The government cut the television transmission of KTN, NTV and Citizen TV on Tuesday to prevent them from airing the symbolic swearing-in of opposition leader Raila Odinga the same day.
Before the court’s ruling, the Interior Ministry had said the stations will remain off air as officials investigate the “serious breach of security” after the stations aired footage of crowds gathering for the event.
It’s unclear whether the government will honor the court’s ruling
The court ordered the government to restore all transmissions immediately. The broadcasters’ signals were still not available on television Thursday, but the channels were streaming online.
Following the shutdown, three NTV journalists spent the night in the newsroom Wednesday, fearful of arrest by police officers they said had camped outside the building.
Larry Madowo, Linus Kaikai and Ken Mijungu said they remained holed up in the newsroom after their police sources tipped them that officers planned to arrest all three.
“We have not broken any laws … we were just doing our jobs and I have no apologies about that,” Madowo told CNN by phone from Nairobi. “This is harassment and intimidation by the government. “
The Interior Ministry defended its decision to shut down the stations, saying the government had given the media “a full security situation brief well ahead of the illegal activities” of the opposition party.
“Unfortunately, some media houses chose to disregard this advice … the government took a decision to shut down the concerned media houses,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.