Chiloba Issues Warning to Broadcasters Over Violative Coverage of Opposition Protests

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CA DG Ezra Chiloba

The Communications Authority of Kenya has announced that it has finished looking into the Broadcast Coverage of Opposition protests that took place on March 20th, 2023.

According to a statement by Director General Ezra Chiloba, the CA determined that six television stations, including Citizen TV, NTV, K24, KBC, TV47, and Ebru TV, provided coverage that breached the Programming Code. The broadcast portrayed images that had the potential to create alarm or provoke the public, endangering the country’s peace and unity.

In compliance with relevant laws, the CA has given notices to the identified broadcasters, requiring them to take immediate corrective measures. All broadcasters are reminded of their obligations.

For instance, the Constitution of Kenya’s Section 33 and the Kenya Information and Communication Act’s Section 5B state that Freedom of Expression, a constitutionally guaranteed right, does not cover propaganda for war, incitement to violence, hate speech, or advocacy of hatred that amounts to ethnic incitement, vilification of others, or incitement to cause harm or discrimination.

Part of the Kenya Information and Communications (Broadcasting) Regulations requires licensees to ensure that their broadcasts do not glorify violence, depict violence in an offensive manner, incite or perpetuate hatred, or vilify any person or group in the community.

A section of the Programming Code stipulates that broadcasters must exercise caution in their coverage of crisis situations to avoid hindering or obstructing authorities’ efforts to resolve the situation.

“While the Authority promotes freedom of the press, it is imperative that all broadcasters exercise caution in Live Broadcast Coverage in order to avoid scenes that would be detrimental to peace and cohesion. Take notice that failure to adhere to the outlined obligations shall be acting in breach of license conditions, which shall attract liability under relevant provisions of the revocation of broadcast license and/or broadcast frequencies,” warns Chiloba.