The Kenyan Parliament has made it clear to journalists that it will not
allow the broadcast of sleeping MPs, writes Dennis Itumbi for

House Speaker Kenneth Marende was categorical at a press conference to launch a state of the art Media Centre: "We will not entertain sideshows, cameras will only focus on the members contributing or the speaker and nowhere else."

"Showing sleeping MP's is a sideshow and we will not allow it," Marende told journalists.

"Members of Parliament do not sleep, they just close their eyes while thinking and neither do they make noise, they merely consult loudly," Olago Olouch, an MP added.

They were responding to questions by journalists who wanted to know why TV cameras were being moved from the chambers.

" We are not moving you, we are just saying we will put our own cameras and distribute the material to media houses, that is the practice everywhere and Kenya is no exception," said Marende.

"That does not amount to control, its merely remotely controlling you from a studio where you are receiving the feed," Marende argued.

Parliament has passed new standing orders that provide for the creation of a House Broadcasting Unit, which will exclusively cover parliament and supply material to media houses.

The Journalists Association of Kenya was quick to respond through its chairperson, Jacqueline Ooko, who argued, "this is merely censorship, if they are merely thinking while closing their eyes then why don't they want that thought process captured on camera? We will respond in due course, but parliament should stop behaving like it’s doing the media a favour in the live broadcasts."

She added: "Live broadcasts is a great move, but we shall not be used as bait in the conspiracy to show some things and deliberately edit out what they call embarrassing, we will take nothing short of objective and fair coverage guided by professional ethics."