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My.Gov: Fight started with order to centralise advertising

National
 Broadcasting and Telecommunications PS Prof Edward Kisiangani. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

On July 10, 2015, the then Treasury CS Henry Rotich wrote to the Attorney General, PSs, chief executives of all State corporations and independent constitutional commissions to announce a decision by the Cabinet to centralise government advertising.

Mr Rotich informed the officials about the creation of the Government Advertising Agency (GAA), a body charged with authorising public sector advertising, implementing sectoral standards, procedures, and guidelines and managing consolidated government advertising funds.

He said the move, under a Cabinet memorandum, will affect State corporations, universities and other institutions under the national government, which were expected to do their media bookings through the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology’s GAA under the Department of Public Communications.

“Accounting officers are required to observe this new policy directive and adhere to GAA guidelines. They should submit to GAA their quarterly advertising plans in the prescribed format 15 days before the start of each quarter for planning and budgeting,” Rotich’s order read.

He restricted the time such adverts should run. He told the accounting officer at the Ministry of Information to ensure adverts shall run for no more than three minutes per exposure.

“That special adverts of national interest or magnitude, national announcement, advertorials, commercials, multi-media productions and documentaries shall take no more than five minutes of air time and that public sector advertising audiovisual and multimedia productions (infomercials, films, video tapes and DVDs) shall not exceed more than ten minutes of airtime unless advised,” said Rotich.

He told CSs to ensure adverts exceeding Sh3 million are submitted to GAA for approval. These include proposals to undertake outdoor advertising with road shows, billboards, fliers, posters, drama, video, cinema, comedy, sports, competitions, audiovisuals, branded items, out-of-home and interactive platforms. Rotich also directed the CS in the Ministry of Information to harmonise all digital advertising channels such as tenders.go.ke, advertisements.go.ke, social media on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube, web blogs and online networks.

The CS directed ministries to give priority to internal advertising where appropriate.

The GAA was mandated to set aside emergency and risk advertising funds. The money would be used to publish appropriate advertising in case of an emergency, which should be no more than two pages in print media. Two years later, on February 8, 2017, the former PSC boss Joseph Kinyua wrote to all PSs informing them that the Cabinet had decided to establish My. Gov.

This year, PS Edward Kisiang’ani wrote another memo directing that no agency should advertise on any other platform other than Convergence Media as it had won the tender for two years.

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