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Advertisers protest guidelines issued by Kenya Film Classification Board, term them illegal

By CYRUS OMBATI | Published Thu, April 21st 2016 at 13:59, Updated April 21st 2016 at 15:13 GMT +3
Kenya Film Classification Board Chief Executive Ezekiel Mutua

Nairobi, Kenya: Players in the advertising industry are against new guidelines issued by the Kenya Film Classification Board during prime time viewership.

KFCB said the guidelines are meant to enhance adherence to the broadcast content regulations and preserve national values and morals.

The guidelines also outlaw the airing of commercials relating to betting, contraceptive products and alcoholic drinks in the so-called watershed period between 5am and 10pm when children are deemed to be awake.

Outdoor Advertisers Association of Kenya Chairman Peter Odoyo dismissed the guidelines, saying the board was seeking relevance.

"They should stick to their mandate of regulating films, as outdoor advertisers; we have a clear system on what is cited for public consumption and what is not.

The former Nyakach MP said his association has always operated within the prism of the law.

"Before we are allowed to operate, we undergo a very rigorous process for approval, so KFCB should not try to sneak in irrelevant laws to the industry which will scare away both local and international investors," Odoyo said.

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Sources said senior officials in the Ministry of Interior and National Coordination led by PS Micah Powon held a daylong meeting with officials from the Betting Control and Licensing Board in regard to the guidelines touching on the betting industry.

"The ministry feels KFCB have overstepped their mandate, but we do not want to be seen as a government fighting each other, talks are ongoing," said an official who sought anonymity.

Bloggers Association of Kenya Chairman Kennedy Kachwanya also dismissed the new guidelines, terming them irrelevant.

What surprises us most is that the media is very quite on this yet it infringes on their revenue," he posed.

Kachwanya said as bloggers, they will resist at all costs the "illegal regulations", which he said infringed on advertisers freedom.

"The functions of the KFCB board is very clear in that they regulate the creation, broadcasting, possession and exhibition of films," he argued.

A former long serving Director of Planning at City Hall Tom Odongo, who is now the minister for Urban Planning also said the regulation of outdoor advertising lies under Physical Planning Act Cap 286, adding that the Urban Areas and Cities Act of 2011 regulates advertisements in Urban Areas.

FFCB chief executive Ezekiel Mutua said since the law has not been implemented before does not mean it does not exist.

Mutua pegged the new guidelines on Broadcasting Regulation of 2009, revised in 2013 and the Programming Code, Section 3.

"We are mandated to regulate content by the law, we are the enforcers in and it is within our jurisdiction," he added.

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