The Communications Authority of Kenya has directed Neno Evangelism Centre, a broadcaster operating as SASA TV, to stop airing live programming with immediate effect. The directive is to be observed for a period of six (6) months.
The decision was arrived at following investigations of content considered inappropriate aired by SASA TV during the watershed period on 3rd October 2021. Investigations established that the TV station violated provisions of the Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998, Broadcasting Regulations, 2009, the Programming Code, and Broadcasting License Conditions.
The CA has further directed SASA TV to ensure it has adequate and qualified personnel who are duly accredited by the Media Council of Kenya. The staff must undergo mandatory training on appropriate operations of the Profanity Delay Mechanism system, management of live broadcasts, broadcasting legal framework, consumer protection, and complaints handling. The station has also been ordered to develop and implement adequate internal controls to ensure compliance with broadcast content standards.
“Non-adherence to these directives may attract further sanctions including revocation of SASA TV’s license.
The Authority urges all licensed broadcasters to ensure full compliance to broadcasting standards set out in the various provisions of the law,” stated CA director general Ezra Chiloba in a press release.
The latest directive is the culmination of the long-running altercation between the operator of Sasa TV (Neno Evangelism Centre of Pastor James Ng’ang’a), the Media Council and CA.
In early October, the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) had vowed to take action against the TV station for airing offensive content, with the Council stating that the TV station allowed the airing of offensive content on October 9, 2021.
“The Council notes that the media house in question breached clauses on accountability, obscenity, taste and tone in reporting by allowing a presenter, Apostle James Maina Ng’ang’a in a live broadcast from Jerusalem City Kenya’ at 1024 hours where he uttered offensive and unprintable words on air,” MCK said in a statement. “We have subsequently directed the media outlet to show cause why action should not be taken against it further to which the Council will institute relevant sanctions in line with our mandate.”
MCK was referring to a video clip that went viral where Pastor Ng’an’ga made comments about his genitals while discussing how his body should be handled in the event of death.
The council similarly alluded to a possible breach of the programming code for free-to-air (FTA) radio and television services in Kenya by the TV station and has notified the Communications Authority (CA) accordingly for investigation.
The Council consequently warned media houses to refrain from airing offensive content and adhere to the journalistic code of conduct.
“We caution media houses, editors, journalists and media practitioners against airing offensive content as stringent penalties will be administered in line with the Media Council Act, 2013,” MCK concluded.