Players critique broadcast rules, complaints procedure in Communications Authority meet

If a proposed regulation is adopted, a person with a complaint to make to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) over something that has been broadcast will be required do it within 30 days of broadcasting.

The procedure over broadcasting content also dictates that complaints should be in writing. Acknowledgement of receipt would be done in 30 days before going to the authority or a tribunal.

During a stakeholder's forum to discuss the Programme Code and Complaints Handling Procedure yesterday, CA said it was important to regulate broadcast content in a bid to protect viewers especially minors from harmful content. Autyhority said this would also help protect the local culture, promote democracy and accurate and impartial news.

Some of the issues raised by stakeholders in the forum, including media houses, included the restriction of advertisement and sponsorship during sports news, traffic updates and the weather which they said is unfair adding that it does not interfere with reporting.

To this the authority said: "Restriction on sponsorship of news is meant to ensure broadcasters maintain due impartiality and accuracy in news and current affairs programming."

A proposal was, however, made to remove traffic updates and weather from such restrictions.

Stakeholders complained the authority drafted the code without consulting with the Kenya Film Classification Board. They said there was need to align the code with KFCB's guidelines on age appropriate programmes and on the rating of commercials and other programmes.

CA said every broadcaster is obliged to have contracts for broadcast of copyrighted material and it must, upon request, submit such to the authority for reviewing.

Other recommendations made at the forum included the need for the authority to carry out regular surveys on attitudes on decency and good taste in broadcasting to establish prevailing community standards on issues.