A majority of TV viewers in Kenya prefer more local content on their screens; even though the quality of such programmes is still a major concern, a survey by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) shows.
At the same time, over a half of TV and radio audiences feel the media is not doing enough in terms of morality, values and standards of behaviour.
(TOP: Makokha and Oleksanda in previous episode of Vioja Mahakamani on KBC TV. Photo:YouTube).
The concerns are results of two surveys commissioned by the Authority as part of the implementation of the Programming Code that sets out standards for the time and manner of programmes to be broadcast by licensed broadcasters.
The CA met stakeholders today to share the findings of the surveys as time runs out for broadcasters to adhere to the Code by end of June 2016.
The Local Content Baseline Survey sought to determine the proportion of local content aired by free-to-air (FTA) television broadcasters, identifying audience perceptions and attitudes towards local content.
The study shows KBC leading in local content at 42 per cent ahead of KTN, K24, Citizen and NTV that have 38, 35, 33 and 31 per cent of programmes devoted to local content respectively. Much of the local content is music.
In emerging TV stations, the study noted that a common thread of lack of variety in programming, inconsistency, and repetition of programmes.
Addressing the stakeholders, the CA Director General Francis Wangusi, who was represented by the Director, Legal Services, John Omo, said there was no turning back on the Code, urging all broadcasters to comply within the stipulated time line.
‘‘The grace period agreed for the implementation of the Programming Code comes to an end in June. The Authority will from 1st July 2016, commence enforcement action against non-compliant licensees on the provisions of the Programming Code,’’ said Wangusi.
He added that with an increased demand for local content, it was contingent upon broadcasters to take the necessary measures to adhere with his requirement.
‘‘You will agree with me that content does not flow of its own accord; it needs owners or originators with the motivation to create, adapt or exchange it,’’ Wangusi challenged broadcasters.
According to the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), media houses especially in developing countries tend to find it easier to push ‘external’ content into local communities with efforts to distribute local content to global networks facing an uphill struggle
In terms of local content production, the study indicates that K24 produces 87 per cent of its local content in-house, followed by KTN at 85 per cent with KBC, NTV and Citizen having 78,70 and 56 per cent in house productions respectively. The rest of the content is independently produced.
On the other hand, the Good Taste and Decency Survey sought to gauge the current attitudes and perceptions of the Kenyan society on what constitutes good taste and decency in broadcasting.
The results of the study show that 66 per cent and 46 per cent of radio and TV audiences respectively agreed that they find offensive content being broadcast in the media with greater concerns being the ability of media to influence children who may easily imitate them.
A majority of the audience also indicated that call-in programmes are notorious for sexually explicit content, strong language, and intrusion into private lives.
Additionally, 69 per cent of those surveyed feel the broadcasters have a greater responsibility of protecting children against content that portray s sex and nudity as parental supervision may be lacking.