New content rules for broadcasters

Communications Authority of Kenya headquarters in Nairobi. [Photo: Courtesy]

Broadcasters and advertisers will soon be compelled to invest more to increase access to their content to people with disabilities.

According to new proposals by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), this will be in addition to the current requirement to caption content and use of sign language interpreters that television stations have during prime time news bulletins.

The same applies to other announcements that are of national importance such as a presidential address.

CA said yesterday it was looking at achieving 100 per cent accessibility to broadcast content for people with disabilities over the next seven years. The communications industry regulator said broadcasters will now be required to caption and use sign language interpretation for entertainment content, away from news and national announcements. It will also require adverts aired on TV to have captions.

The authority said seven years after the proposed regulations come into effect, broadcasters would be required to insert captioning in at least 180 minutes per week of other programming aired during the “watershed period” as well as ensure captioning in at least 75 per cent of advertising content.

“Under the current licence regime, only news, emergency announcements and events of national importance are required to be broadcast in accessible formats for PWDs (people with disabilities),” said CA in the proposals published on its website as it seeks comments from industry stakeholders through public consultation that will run until February 28.

According to CA, other programming excludes news, current affairs, events of national importance and advertising. 

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