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Debate starts over local content on Kenyan television, radio stations

SCI & TECH
By Kamau Muthoni | Oct 8th 2014 | 2 min read
By Kamau Muthoni | October 8th 2014
SCI & TECH
CA Director General, Francis Wangusi (center) with 2 times Boston Marathon Champion Moses Tanui and KECOSO Chairman Mutua Muthusi (right) during the launch of Peace Marathon

Just days after the landmark ruling on digital migration, debate over the proportion of local content on television and radio has emerged.

Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) together with Kenya Film Commission on one end are insisting that all local television stations and radios must carry a majority local content in order to encourage talent growth and create employment.

On the other hand, media practitioners have argued that they should be allowed to decide what runs on their TV stations.

The media houses, during a breakfast meeting at a Nairobi hotel, said they were adhering to regulations set by CA but this will in the long run hurt the cost of doing business.

They further said that despite the need to have local content aired, the regulation should not be imposed on them.

NATIONAL BROADCASTERS

Linus Kaikai, who was representing media houses yesterday, said the regulator should go slow on its quest to have local programmes being the major content carried on local TV stations.

Mr Kaikai argued that the must-carry content regulation in other countries has been in reference to the national broadcasters who benefit from licences.

He said that on the contrary, having local programmes on private TV stations was a costly affair.

“The Supreme Court directed that we should dialogue on the way forward in terms of digital migration. I believe that even other media houses have the same challenge. I, therefore, ask the authority to adopt lenient terms on its interaction with the media,” he said.

The regulator said majority of TV networks had sidelined people with disabilities when airing programmes and news.

According to the regulator, Kenya Television Network (KTN) has been the only station that adopted sign language during its news and interviews broadcast. CA wants media houses to run 60 per cent of local content by 2018 and by next year to have more than 40 per cent of local programmes being aired in local stations.

According to CA Director General Francis Wangusi, media houses will be required to pay higher service charge if they will not have complied with the regulations.

He said the authority has already set out a framework in which it will engage media owners.

Wangusi added that there will be a tentative date on which the country will shift from the analogue platform to digital.

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