Legislators are deliberating on a proposed law named the Kenya Information and Communication (Broadcasting) Regulations, 2022. The draft, which has since been published for public scrutiny, presents a number of proposals regarding broadcasting licensing, aired content, programming code, and complaints handling.

Qualifications of ‘local content’

According to the proposal, local content for radio or TV, including news and ads, must meet any five of the following requirements:

  1. The production is made in either Kenya’s indigenous or official languages of Kenya;
  2. production and post-production is wholly or partly done in Kenya;
  3. the content deals with issues that are unique and relevant to Kenyan audiences;
  4. at least thirty percent of the share of the production company are owned by Kenyans;
  5. fifty percent of the— (a) leading actor or actors; (b) major supporting cast appearing in the program; and (c) technical crew, are Kenyans;
  6. the location of the shooting, in case of audio-visual programs or performance, is wholly or partly in Kenya;
  7. the majority of the intellectual property is owned by a Kenyan citizen and the Copyright is registered with the Kenya Copyright Board;
  8. leading actor or actors;
  9. the program director is a Kenyan; and
  10. the majority of the five highest paid performers are Kenyan Citizens.

Broadcasting license fees

According to the draft, the Communications Authority of Kenya may prescribe charges payable for the broadcasting services license, application, renewal, transfer, annual license fee, and any other fees related to the services.

The CA may also determine the period within which the fees shall be paid together with interest/penalties in case of late payment.

Subscription-based broadcasting

According to the proposed law, any person who seeks to offer a subscription broadcasting service needs to acquire a license from the CA.

“A broadcasting service provider whose signal originates from outside Kenya and who wishes to provide their broadcasting services in Kenya shall have landing rights authorization from the Authority and be licensed as a subscription service provider or provide their services through a subscription management service provider,” adds the law.

Protection of Children

According to the proposed law, a licensee is tasked with ensuring that their content is not harmful to children and that the broadcasted content does not have offensive language, violent material, or sexually explicit materials. This also includes sexually explicit lyrics in songs or those that depict violence.

Nothing new has been reported about the watershed period other than reiterating that all programs broadcast during the watershed period, including advertisements, shall be in the best interest of the child;

Overall, licensees must ensure that due care is exercised not to broadcast harmful material/adult content during the watershed period.

Election period

The regulations propose that broadcasters must provide equal coverage and opportunities to registered political parties taking part in the polls.

“A licensee shall ensure that the name of the political party or sponsor if any, on whose behalf a broadcast is made, is announced, immediately before the commencement and immediately after such broadcast,” adds the proposal.

Broadcasters must not air sponsored content by political parties or candidates besides an ad thereof to be dramatized.

Licensees have also been warned about airing hateful content, or one that incites violence.

“A licensee must not broadcast views that could incite violence or advocate hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion or political convictions and that constitutes an incitement to cause harm to candidates participating in elections or the general public,” adds the law.

The draft regulations can be read HERE for more insights.