The Communication Authority of Kenya reminds broadcasters on the regulatory requirements governing the responsible use of broadcasting platforms as the General Election approaches. As such it warns broadcasting stations not to incite propaganda for war, incite violence and spread hate speech.
The Programming Code for free-to-air radio and television services in Kenya that came into effect on 1st July 2016, outlines the “Election Period” to mean the period between publication of a notice by the electoral body for a Presidential, Parliamentary or County election and the gazettement of the election results.
According to the Code, radio and television broadcasters have an obligation to serve the public interest at all times. This includes provision of equitable coverage and opportunities to registered political parties participating in an election.
Punishment to those who contravene these guidelines set by the code-by encouraging political messages that contain attacks on individuals, their families, ethnic background, race, religion or their associations-will include revocation of licenses and frequency spectrum.
Media houses are expected to adhere to professional standards and should not use their platforms to propagate misleading information to the public.
“As the country approaches the General Election in 2017, the Communications Authority of Kenya wishes to remind broadcasters on the regulatory provisions governing the responsible use of broadcasting platforms,” says CA chairman, Mr. Gituku. “The Authority expects the Broadcasters to abide by the provisions in the Code in relation to election period and political parties. This is not only a legal requirement but also the public responsibility of the media to uphold the democratic principles of our nation particularly during the election period,” he added.
Similarly the Kenya Information and Communications (Broadcasting) Regulations, 2009 provide guidelines for the “polling period” which covers the period when national general elections are held, election campaigns, the post-election and referendum periods.
Section 25 of the Regulations calls on licensees to;
“(a) provide equitable coverage and opportunities to registered political parties participating in an election and in particular to presidential candidates; (b) ensure that the name of the political party or sponsor, if any, on whose behalf a broadcast is made, is announced, immediately before the commencement and immediately after such broadcast; (c) ensure that the employees of a licensee who wish to be candidates for any elective position(s) resign from their employment with the licensee during polling period”