TV, radio stations face Sh500K fine for airing adult content
Radio and television stations found airing adult-rated content between 5am and 10pm will from Friday be fined between Sh500, 000 or 0.2 per cent of their gross turnover.
This follows the expiry of a six-month grace period that the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) gave the broadcasters to align their programming to the new code.
Besides fining the offending broadcasters, the Programming Code for free-to-air radio and television services gives the regulator powers to revoke the licences of stations that persistently flout the rules.
The CA says the Programming Code is aimed at preventing the airing of material that is unsuitable for children and to stimulate the local film industry by promoting programmes aligned with culture.
However, 10 out of the 60 licensed broadcasters, through their umbrella body, Media Owners Association (MOA), wants self-regulation on content and have drafted their own programming code.
This is line with the ICT sector law that allows a body of broadcasters to develop and enforce own programming with the regulator’s approval.
Francis Wangusi, the CA director general, said they have looked at the MOA code and advised a review before approval.
“The Code requires radio and TV broadcasters to transmit programming that is appropriate for family audiences during the watershed period, which runs from 5.00am to 10.00pm, broadcasters who don’t adhere to these regulations will be fined in accordance to the law,” Mr Wangusi said.
He added that licences for broadcasters who persistently flout the code will not be renewed. The MOA also got a reprieve after the Authority agreed to their demand that the duration allowed for advertisement during a 30-minute news broadcast to increase to 10 minutes from the previous seven.
The Authority said it is capable of monitoring what is being aired both on radio and television within Nairobi and its environs and will soon expand this to other regions.
For television, the Authority will be relying on the Kenya Film Classification Board ratings to determine what adult-rated content is.
The film classification board has already written demand letters to two media houses for the rescheduling of two popular programmes from the the watershed period.
The board has also written to Royal Media Services to demand for the rescheduling of a segment of its Saturday 7pm Swahili bulletin that discusses relationships and marriages.
The popular segment involves a question and answer session with Bi Msafwari, a traditional marriage counselor with conservative leanings on marriage and the roles of husbands and wives in a family.