The Director General of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), Ezra Chiloba, has accused six local TV stations of violating the Programming Code during their coverage of the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition protests on March 20, 2023.
6 media houses warned over coverage of Azimio mass action protest
CA says the 6 stations violated the Programming Code while covering Azimio mass action on Monday
Chiloba claimed that the TV stations, namely Citizen TV, NTV, K24, KBC, TV47, and Ebru TV, provided coverage in a way that portrayed scenes that could lead to panic or incitement among the public, thereby endangering peace and unity in the country.
"The coverage by the said stations depicted scenes that could cause panic or incitement to the public, threatening peace & cohesion in the country. In line with the law, the CA has written to the six media houses to take remedial actions," read the statement.
The mentioned stations have been issued with notices from the Authority to take immediate remedial actions according to Chiloba.
"The Authority has, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the law, issued notices to the identified broadcasters to take immediate remedial actions.
"While the Authority promotes the freedom of the press, it is imperative that all broadcasters exercise caution in live broadcast coverage to avoid scenes that would be detrimental to peace and cohesion," continued the CA statement.
Broadcasters' obligations according to CA
1. Section 33 of the Constitution of Kenya as read together with Section 5B of the Kenya Information and Communication Act, which provide that the constitutionally guaranteed right to Freedom of Expression, does not extend to propaganda for war, incitement to violence, hate speech or advocacy of hatred that constitutes ethnic incitement, vilification of others, or incitement to cause harm or discrimination;
2. Clauses 461 (1) (a) Kenya Information and Communications Act which requires licensed broadcasters to provide responsible and responsive programming that caters for the varied needs and susceptibilities of different sections of the Kenyan community;
3. Clauses 19 (1) (c) and (d) Kenya Information and Communications (Broadcasting) Regulations which requires a licensee to ensure that no broadcasts by its station -glorifies violence or depicts violence in an offensive manner; or is likely to incite, perpetuate hatred, vilify any person or section of the community;
4. Clause 10.2.1 of the Programming Code which requires broadcasters to take care in coverage of crisis situations so as not to hinder or obstruct efforts by authorities to resolve the situation.
According to CA, failure to comply with the stipulated obligations would be considered a breach of license conditions, which could result in the revocation of a broadcast license and/or broadcast frequencies.
The relevant provisions of the law would also hold the violators liable for their actions.
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