KenyaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s President Mwai Kibaki has directed the Attorney General and Information Minister to look at the controversial media law afresh, writes Dennis Itumbi.
In a brief statement, Kibaki ordered the two to study amendments members of the media fraternity have proposed to the controversial Kenya Communications (Amendment) Act, 2008.
"I have noted concerns by the media regarding the Kenya Communications (Amendment) Act 2008 and asked the A.G. and the Information and Communications Minister Samuel Poghisio to study the proposed amendments and consult with the media representatives," the statement said. The pair were ordered to recommend changes to the cabinet.
Immediately afterwards, the EditorsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ Guild backed off from an earlier decision to snub a meeting called by Information Minister Samuel Poghisio for next Wednesday.
"Following the move by the President we review our earlier stand and we will be attending the meeting in the hope that the move is the first step towards finding a solution and a way out of the draconian laws," the guild said.
The President was responding to a letter from the Chairman of the Media Owners Association (MOA) Linus Gitahi, appealing to him to consider proposed amendments to the act.
The media fraternity and civil society have been protesting against the new law which gives the government the power to raid broadcast houses at will and control broadcast content.
The MOA and the guild had earlier said they would snub calls by the government for dialogue on the controversial law.
"We have held many meetings with the ministry and as we held those meetings, the bill continued to move from one stage to the other and we have not seen any fruitful outcome," Gitahi said at the time.
He said the two bodies would not attend talks on the controversial law unless its implementation was suspended.