Reason Kenyan TV Anchors Were Banned From Wearing Green & Blue Colours

A photo collage of Citizen TV anchors Lillian Muli (left), Rashid Abdalla and Lulu Hassan (right).
A photo collage of Citizen TV anchors Lillian Muli (left), Rashid Abdalla and Lulu Hassan (right).
Lilian Muli/ Rashid Abdalla

More often than not, you may have witnessed your favourite TV News anchor donning green and blue colours when presenting news recently.

Unknown to many, however, journalists were banned from wearing green and blue coloured clothes during news bulletins in the 1990s and the aughts.

The reason behind the move was the technology many of the media houses were using at the time - blue and green screens.

Unlike today, when the majority of the established media houses have invested millions in creating studios within their establishments, many relied on the screens which could be replaced by another background.

An image of empty NTV studios taken in October 2017
NTV studios at Twin Towers along Kimathi Street in a photo dated October 2017.

Speaking to, video editor Kaniu Ndung'u, explained that keying, a technology in video production, was used in altering a video or picture frame when blue and green screens were used.

Keying is a post-production process that involved removing the green screen with the help of using video editing software.

During the process, the screen is made transparent and replaced with another image or video.

For example, through this technique, one can change the blue screen with a picture of Nairobi Central Business District (CBD).

Therefore, if one was to wear a green shirt or cloth in front of a green screen, part of their body would also be made transparent during keying.

After Keying is done, one may think that the news anchor is at a given scene or in the studios but in reality, they could just be recording themselves in a corner of their newsroom or house.

Kaniu also added that green and blue screens were widely used for the process of keying as they were far off from any shade of human skin.

Simply put, it is difficult to find someone coloured green or blue.

"Basically, any colour can be used as a screen. However, blue and green colour is considered to be far from the natural colour of human skin tone on the colour spectrum," he stated.

Despite advancements in technology, blue and green screens are still popular in the filming of adverts and movies especially in the fantasy genre as it saves time spent on a given shoot.

Green and blue screens are also cost-effective as one does not have to secure a location or buy more props.

Some of the famous films the green and blue screens have been used include Star Wars, Avatar and Aquaman.

A photo of green screen studio setting.
A photo of green screen studio setting.