Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) director General Ezra Chiloba has flagged six local TV stations for allegedly violating the Programming Code while covering the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition protests on March 20, 2023.
In a statement, Chiloba accused the six Tv stations, Citizen TV, NTV, K24, KBC, TV47 and Ebru TV, of providing coverage in a manner that violated the Programming Code.
According to Chiloba, the coverage by the six media outlets depicted scenes that could cause panic or incitement to the public, threatening peace and cohesion in the country.
"The Authority has, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the law, issued notices to the identified broadcasters to take immediate remedial actions," Chiloba stated.
"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."
Laws violated by the stations according to Chiloba
Among the laws the media outlets that the stations are accused of breaking include 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.
Chiloba also cited clauses 19 (1) (c) and (d) Kenya Information and Communications (Broadcasting) Regulations which require 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.
"All broadcasters are hereby reminded of their obligations as outlined in 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," Chiloba stated.
Other laws cited by Chiloba include section 5.8.4 of the Programming Code which states that presentation of news and commentaries must not be done in a way that would create unnecessary panic or alarm, and section 5.8.3 of the Programming Code which states that morbid, violent, sensational or alarming details that are not essential to factual reporting are not permissible.
"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," Chiloba added.
"Take notice that failure to adhere to the outlined obligations shall be acting in breach of licence conditions, which shall attract liability under relevant provisions of the law, including revocation of broadcast licence and/or broadcast frequencies."