Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Director General, Ezra Chiloba, on Thursday, June 29, unveiled new guidelines all broadcasters across the country must follow.
In the Programming Code for Broadcasting Services, CA touched on five key changes that included religious and superstitious content, accessibility to broadcasting services, betting and gaming regulations, requirements for online service providers and provisions on coverage of referenda.
CA asked all media houses broadcasting religious content to institute a gatekeeping mechanism protecting the masses from consuming content featuring superstitious and pseudo-scientific beliefs.
TV stations were also directed to air content that does not influence or exploit the audience's beliefs, which may be perceived as brainwashing.
Among the content cited by CA was production centred around supernatural powers, foretelling of the future, astrology, phrenology, palm-reading, numerology, mind-reading, hypnotism, and faith healing.
"Care should be taken to prevent the exploitation of people who may be easily swayed by such superstitious and pseudo-scientific beliefs and practices," the statement read in part.
TV Stations were also banned from airing content that promoted or encouraged occult practices, black or white magic, witchcraft and other similar activities. To enhance the quality of religious content, Chiloba suggested airing content promoting the benefits of religion within society.
CA directed TV stations to enhance the accessibility of broadcasting services to include Persons With Disabilities (PWD).
Broadcasters are required to implement captioning, subtitling, and sign language during news and current affairs programmes as well as during emergency announcements and other matters that touch on national interest.
"Any form of humor based on physical, mental or sensory disability should be avoided at all costs. Reference to the disabled should only be included where relevant to the context," the statement read in part,
Betting and Gaming Regulations
Free-to-air broadcasters were prohibited from airing programming promoting gaming activities, campaigns, or advertisements during the watershed period.
Broadcasters must obtain the relevant license from the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) to air any gaming, campaigns or advertisements.
All gaming activity is required to adhere to the set classification and rating guidelines of Kenya before it is aired on any broadcasting platform.
Online service providers
Licensed broadcasters were also required to moderate content uploaded on social media sites.
The new regulations listed new provisions of a referendum. All TV stations were mandated to provide equitable opportunities for access to unpaid airtime to every candidate or political party participating in the referendum.
Employees are not allowed to wear or exhibit symbols or appear with outfits or logos associated with any referendum committee during the referendum campaign period. They should not accept any gifts or special treatment by any candidate.
All tv stations were required not to air any content that could propagate violence or incite the public.
The proposed review aimed at enhancing consumer protection and promoting innovation and public interest in broadcasting services. CA invited the public to air their views on the programming code by July 31, 2023.
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