- Kenyan police have arrested 11 journalists protesting against the controversial Communications amendment bill of 2008 that seeks to limit media freedom in the country. But, Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said he would hold talks with the president over the draft law.
Local media reports said Police fired teargas and pepper spray at about 50 protesters marching to parliament to denounce the bill passed last week, which has sparked criticism from media owners and rights groups.
The Bill, passed by Parliament, would automatically become law once the President signs.
Prime Minister Odinga's party had eatlier this year threatened court action if the president assents to the bill.
"We were hoping to have consultations before the bill was presented to parliament. Unfortunately that did not happen," Mr Odinga told reporters in Kenya.
Mr Odinga said it was sad to witness the mishandling of journalists and civil rights activists, though he also criticised them for using a national holiday to stage demonstrations against the Media Bill.
The Nation said the protesters who wore black T-shirts that bore messages of dissatisfaction with the Bill were arrested, including journalists covering the event who were in casual wear.
"They were ferried to the Central Police Station where they were locked up in a cell for almost an hour before being charged with taking part in an unlawful assembly at Kibera law courts," the newspaper report said.
During the demonstration, according to local media reports, scores of journalists were also injured as they clashed with anti-riot police in the city centre who blocked them from staging the peaceful demonstration, leading to a petition that would have been delivered to MPs at parliament buildings.
President Mwai Kibaki has began to feel the Pressure not to approve the bill until parliament amends the offending Section 88 of the proposed law to get rid of powers vested in the security minister to raid media houses and take away broadcast equipment at will.
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