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Kenyan State to regulate YouTube and Netflix

By Frankline Sunday | August 24th 2016
Communication Authority CEO Francis Wangusi (left) and the Board chairman Ngene Gituku when they paid a courtesy call at the Standard Group Ceo Cam Shollei on 23rd August,2016. Looking is the the Group Managing Director Broadcast Division Joe Munene; Photo Georgre Orido

The Government plans to regulate over-the-top providers like Netflix and YouTube in a new set of laws.

The Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) says over-the-top providers in the country are operating in a legal grey area and pose threats to consumers and local content providers such as broadcasters.

“Over-the-top providers like Netflix are causing unfair competition to other broadcasters and do not pay taxes to the exchequer,” said CA Director General Mr Francis Wangusi.

Over-the-top providers such as YouTube and Netflix use the internet to stream their content and are thus able to extend their services to virtually any market globally at little to no infrastructure costs.


“We have been looking at how to regulate over-the-top providers possibly through the 2016 ICT Policy document or through additional amendments to the Communications Act,” Wangusi said. The plan to regulate the streaming service comes a few months after another Government agency warned Netflix that it would block the service if it aired inappropriate content.

In January 2016, the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB), the Government body that regulates all visual media in the country, called Netflix a threat to the country’s ‘moral values and national security’.

Mr Wangusi was speaking at the Standard Group headquarters where he paid a courtesy visit to take stock of the progress of the digital migration process.

“When we started digital migration we had a lot of differences but we are now happy that the differences have been resolved and we are now reading from the same script,” said Standard Group CEO Sam Shollei.

“Digital migration is now hailed as a success and we appreciate the steps that have been made and the regulator’s support over the same.”

The regulator is reaching out to broadcasters in the country to evaluate the progress of the digital migration so far and provide support where necessary.

“Broadcasters have raised a number of issues, key among them being reduced revenues as the internet eats into the advertising market share,” Wangusi explained.

“We are looking at how we can facilitate the investment and development of new and niche products in the industry and help providers diversify from the dependence on ad revenue.”

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