After going full throttle at each other during the digital migration debate and implementation, broadcasters and the government will soon find themselves on opposite sides of the ring again due to the new broadcasting regulations by the latter still in the drafting stage.
The Communications Authority of Kenya is required under the Kenya Information and Communications Act 1998, as amended (the “Act”) and the Kenya Information and Communications (Broadcasting) Regulations, 2009, to prescribe a Programming Code for free-to-air radio and television services setting out standards for the time and manner of programmes to be broadcasted by licensed broadcasters under the Act.
Section 46H (d) of the Act mandates the Authority to ensure compliance to the Programming Code prescribed under the Act. This code is to be known as the Kenya Programming Code for Free-to-air Radio and Television (the “Programming Code” or the “Code”).
The new broadcasting regulations are here and in a nut shell CA is saying: “Broadcasting in Kenya should reflect the national values, aspirations, hopes and dreams of Kenyans; Broadcasting is regarded as a powerful medium for influencing culture, beliefs and values as well as a tool for economic growth and development; Broadcasting has an immediate and lasting impact on the public and therefore demands that its practitioners display a high sense of responsibility, morality, fairness and honesty at all times.”
“Broadcasting services are expected to uphold the values and customs of civilized society, maintain the respect of the rights and sensitivities of all people, preserve the honour and sanctity of the families and homes, protect the sacredness of individual dignity, and promote national unity and cohesion.”
The new regulations are touching on family programming, news and public affairs, news sources, interviews, news gathering, sensationalism, election reporting, personal attacks and so on.
While speaking at the Press Freedom day function In Nairobi , the Editor’s Guild chairman Linus Kaikai vowed that they will fight the new regulations that are seen as an attempt by the regulator to take over the news function.
A tough talking Kaikai said: “The government owes us an enabling environment to conduct business.”
He likened this new development to some clauses in the security laws that required journalsist to have stories verified by the police and so on and which have since been declared unconstitutional by the court.
He also took a swipe at the regulator and the ministry of information Communication and technology as regards the digital migration terming it irresponsible.
“ The two institutions outdid themselves , digtla migration was handled in the most irresponsible manner possible. Today we have fewer viewers watching TV than ever before,” he said.
He also complained on the alleged infringement of the Intellectual property of free to air broadcasters by their Pay TV counter parts adding that the fight for this was still on.
The World press freedom day was commemorated on May 5th and its theme was let journalism thrive.i
Advertisements in the News 5.10.1 Advertisements must be clearly distinguished from the news. 5.10.2 Advertisements in the guise of news are not allowed. 5.10.3 No advertisement of products that is not permissible to children by the laws of Kenya shall be allowed during the watershed period.