New code lifts adverts ban during national events

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New code lifts adverts ban during national events

Members of the public celebrate last year’s Madaraka Day in Meru. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Advertisers will have leeway to air commercials during live national events such as Madaraka Day in the latest programming code.

The newly published 2019 Programming Code for broadcasters, issued by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), has dropped the restriction that was contained in the 2016 code.

In the 2016 rules, CA had explicitly stated that advertisements are not to be aired during “live screening or broadcasts of national holiday ceremonies, parliamentary proceedings, and state of nation address.”

It had also forbade sponsorship of such live events. However, these two requirements have been dropped, giving media houses the opportunity to earn revenue during the prime time.

While the 2016 code also required a licensee to ensure that advertisements aired on its station contain at least 40 percent local content footage, the new code is silent on this restriction.

Free to air broadcasting stations will still be required to ensure that 40 percent of their station’s programming, excluding news and advertisements, is local content within one year of award of licence.

However, the 2016 requirement that local content programming be increased to 60 percent within four years after receipt of licence has been dropped in the new rules.

A ban on all forms of advertising for cigarettes and other tobacco products has been retained as is the requirement that advertisements should not exceed 10 minutes in any 30 minutes of broadcasting.

Guidelines on sex, obscenity and pornography have also been retained with CA stressing on need to protect children and vulnerable adults. The latest broadcasting rules also rope in subscription and pay-per-view TV stations which had previously been omitted.

The effective date of the latest code will be six months from the date of gazettement.

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