first_imgThe Kenya Media Council has strongly criticised MPs for passing a bill on Wednesday that criminalises journalists deemed to have “scandalised parliament”.Those found guilty would face $5,000 (£3,200) fine and might end up serving two years in prison.“This will potentially be used to silence critical reporting. It remains a huge obstacle to media freedom,” Haron Mwangi, chief executive of the council, said.Pressure from trade unions, journalists and the clergy Thursday pushed the National Assembly to put on hold the final passage of a Bill shielding Parliament from public scrutiny.The move by Speaker Justin Muturi came as Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu), the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), Muslim leaders and human rights activists questioned the motives of Parliament in voting for the controversial Bill that criminalises any words or actions that MPs think amount to “scandalising Parliament”.The union, political and religious leaders criticised the passage of the Bill during the Second Reading and described it as “a disgusting spot on the face of the electorate and the spirit of democracy”.They urged President Uhuru Kenyatta not to assent to it.On Thursday, Mr Muturi, appearing to buckle to pressure, suspended the third and final reading of the Bill to pave way for consultations on how the unconstitutional sections can be expunged.last_img read more