New TV stations in Kenya have five years to grow local content to 60pc

Communications Authority of Kenya Chairman Ngene Gituku, said some vernacular and region-based FM broadcasters have flooded the airwaves with divisive content and hate speech, threatening the country’s nationhood. [PHOTO: MAARUFU MOHAMED/STANDARD]

NAIROBI: The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) will allow new broadcasters five years to achieve 60 per cent local content, according to proposed regulations.

In the draft regulations under public debate, the regulator says new broadcasters will be given one year to grow their content to 40 per cent and four years to ramp up to 60 per cent.

CA Director in charge of Multimedia Services Leo Boruett, yesterday during an industry consultative forum in a Nairobi hotel, said the local content requirement will ensure viewers are well served in terms of what they would like to watch.

“The idea behind the local content development is geared towards creating employment as well as enhancing nationalism. This will stimulate more production by local producers in the electronic media,” said Boruett.

He said foreign content, which is procured on short-term basis, dominates local TV stations. This has been necessitated by gaps in the legal and regulatory environment. This, he said curtails local content development and stifles employment creation efforts.

In the envisaged new era, local broadcasters will be required to give more prominence to local content as part of exploiting untapped potential in the film industry.

In the draft regulations, advertisers have recommended adverts be allocated 14 minutes every hour. Boruett said the suggestion to create specified time for adverts will have more impact to viewers. He said in the current scenario, adverts almost dominate other programmes and thus diluting the intended purpose.

CA Chairman Ngene Gituku said the entry of more players in the local market has resulted in audience fragmentation and cut-throat competition for audience and the advertising pie. “In an attempt to adapt to the unfolding market realities, some broadcasters, especially FM stations, took advantage of legal and regulatory gaps and adopted unorthodox programming practices in disregard of the interests of the consumers, particularly children,” said Mr Gituku.


He said some vernacular and region-based FM broadcasters stations have flooded the airwaves with divisive content and hate speech, thus threatening the country’s nationhood. “With the recent migration to digital TV broadcasting and the proliferation of additional channels, there is reason to fear that this menace, if not addressed expeditiously, may increase,” he added.

The authority has developed the programme code and complaints handling procedure. Programme code sets the time and manner of programmes to be broadcast.

On the other hand, the complaints handling procedure outlines the steps to be taken by broadcasters, consumers of broadcast services, the authority and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal with respect to making, receiving, handling and resolving of broadcast content related complaints.