ICT stakeholders in Kenya came together to review the suggested ICT Sector policy as well as the amendment bill of the Kenya Information and Communications Act.
This exercise’s intention is to support the ICT regulatory framework with the constitution, which according to Article 34 of the Kenyan constitution, guarantees freedom of the media. The article also says that the body that regulates the media should be independent of government, political and commercial interests.
The bill reviews membership to the Universal Service Advisory Council (USAC) to consist of representatives of broadcasting, telecommunications and postal sectors as witnesses, to enhance clarity in the management of the Fund.
The Universal Service Fund (USF) is aimed at financing rolled out services in under-served and un-served areas.
The bill proposes to transform the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK), this shows an enhanced independence.
CAK will have ten board of directors, among them, seven will be appointed for a three-year period by the president through a viable process. The body’s Director General will be appointed viably for a four-year term, a position which will only be renewed once.
CAK will determine the standards for broadcasting content and controlling and observing defiance over the current directive.
In emergency situations, as according to the bill, the government is expected to use the ICT infrastructure for moderating public emergencies or disasters. The directive also allows the authority to stop, delay and censor messages and broadcasts during times of emergency.
Dr. Matiang’i, the ICT Cabinet Secretary, said his Ministry would soon unveil a cyber-security framework to ensure that ICTs are secure to play their rightful role as enablers of development. A data protection bill, he added, has been developed and would soon be tabled before parliament for enactment into law with a view to strengthening the governance regime in the ICT sector.