Communications Authority of Kenya Director General Mr.Francis Wangusi (centre) addressing the press on the recently published Programming Code for Free-to-Air radio and TV services in the country.He is accompanied by Mr.Christopher Wambua (left) Acting Director,Consumer and Public Affairs,and Mr.Martin Ikumilu (right) Manager,Multimedia Licensing and Market development.

The Communications Authority has given broadcasters six months within which to comply with the provisions of the Programme Code for Free to Air Radio and Television Broadcasting services in Kenya. 

In a Press Statement, the CA Director General, Mr. Francis Wangusi also called on the broadcasters to take advantage of this six-month period to sensitize their employees on the provisions to ensure compliance.  Broadcasters who violate the Code are liable to penalties ranging from Ksh500,000 to 0.2% of their Gross Annual Turnover.

He asked consumers to internalize the provisions of the Code so they may monitor the performance of broadcasters and, where necessary, lodge complaints in instances where the Code is violated. 

Mr. Wangusi advised stakeholders to exploit this window to point out areas of the Code that may need review in future adding that the Authority shall, on its part, continue holding sensitization workshops in various parts of the country to ensure broadcasters and consumers are aware of the provisions of the Code.   

He clarified that contrary to some media reports the Code does not outlaw preaching on radio and TV stations. “What the Code outlaws is misuse of broadcasting services to exploit audiences.”

The Authority published the Programme Code in the Kenya Gazette on 31st December 2015 setting out the standards for the time and manner of programmes to be broadcast by licensees or broadcasters. The Code is aimed at, among others;

  • Protecting children from scenes of violence, sexually explicit conduct or having vulgar or offensive language during the watershed period which runs from 5.00 am to 10.00 pm
  • Ensuring broadcasters observe accuracy and impartiality in news reporting and also equitable coverage to political parties and candidates, especially presidential aspirants.
  • Ensuring broadcasters observe standards of good taste and decency in respect to cultural values, and norms. 
  • Protecting people’s privacy and providing right of reply for those accused of wrongdoing
  • Ensuring that programmes that may incite crime or disorder, including hate speech, are not aired. 
  • Ensuring that advertisements aired in stations contain a minimum of 40% local footage and that 40% of their airtime is dedicated to locally produced programmes, including music.

The DG called on consumers to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the complaints handling procedure so that they can escalate broadcast content related complaints to the Authority in the event that offending broadcasters do not satisfactorily handle their complaints. 

The programme code is available here