NAIROBI- Two Kenyan television channels shut down by the government over their coverage of the political opposition resumed partial broadcasting on Monday, although a third channel remained off the air.
Kenyan activist Okiya Omtatah files a lawsuit seeking the arrest of two Kenyan ministers and a senior official for contempt of court after the government ignored a court order to reopen three television channels shut down over their political coverage, at the Milimani Court in Nairobi, Kenya, February 5, 2018.
The unprecedented act of censorship sparked a local and international backlash against the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who won an election in October.
It also reinvigorated an opposition that had appeared unsure of its next step after a highly publicized rally last week at which leader Raila Odinga symbolically inaugurated himself as president.
The NTV, KTN News and Citizen TV channels were taken off the air on Tuesday, hours before they were due to broadcast Odinga’s event. The United States, the United Nations and former colonial ruler Britain strongly criticized the government’s censorship.
The government ignored a court order issued on Thursday to restore the stations, prompting activist Okiya Omtatah to file a case seeking the arrest of officials for contempt of court on Monday.
Also on Monday, police teargassed demonstrators demanding the stations reopen as they tried to march on government offices.
It was unclear why the government switched back on the transmitters. A spokesman for the government was not available for comment.
“There’s been no form of communication from the government,” said Larry Madowo of NTV, which resumed broadcasting on pay-to-view channels although its free-to-air channel, which uses different transmitters, was still off. KTN News was back on its free-to-air channel.
Madowo noted the transmitters for Citizen TV were in a different place, which might explain the delay.