Since launch in 2017, KUZA awards has motivated broadcasters to significantly comply with regulations – CA

The launch of the KUZA Awards in the country in 2017 has had positive impact on the broadcasting scene, with the industry regulator Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) recording a significant compliance levels among broadcasters from when the awards scheme was launched according to CA director general Ezra Chiloba.

During the KUZA Awards conference held at the Movenpick Hotel in Nairobi on June 15, 2023, Mr Chiloba gave a rundown of events and developments from when the KUZA Awards were introduced up until now, while also mentioning the highlights and key achievements realised within this period.

“As you may all be aware, the ICT sector law mandates the Authority with promoting and facilitating the development of a diverse range of broadcasting services in Kenya. This mandate span across; developing media standards, regulating and monitoring compliance with these standards, and carrying out such other functions directed to the growth of the sub-sector,” said Chiloba.

As part of its efforts to towards the operationalization of this mandate, the CA developed The Programming Code for Radio and Television, which came in force on July 1, 2016. The Code sets out the standards for the time and manner of programmes to be broadcast by broadcasting licensees in the country.

“On achieving the above milestone, CA opted for the ‘Carrot’ as opposed to the ‘Stick’ approach to enhancing compliance in the sub-sector. This is what saw the birth  of the now reknown ‘KUZA’ Awards that premiered in 2017. The Awards are geared to celebrate excellence in our broadcasting industry and reward responsible broadcasting,” he noted.

Since 2017, the KUZA Awards have been held annually under different themes to recognize and celebrate excellence in the broadcasting industry. Over this period, the awards has recorded steady growth judging by the entry submissions as well as awards categories, from 5 in 2017 to 19 sub-categories in 2022.

The public has also gained interest in the initiative, getting immensely involved in the voting process with more than 260,000 voters having participated during the 2022 Awards, casting over 1.1 million votes.

“We will all admit that walking together in this journey of continual improvements has been quite rewarding. The impact in terms of regulatory compliance has been on a positive trajectory and albeit the challenges facing the broadcasting sub-sector, we continue to uphold the important role of broadcasting in promoting socio-economic development of our country,” said Chiloba.

“Speaking of the positive impact, on the overall, the Authority has recorded significant compliance levels among broadcasters since 2017, the year when KUZA was launched.”

As a highlight, he stated that part of the growth recorded has been the improvement in compliance with Local content quota of 40% requirement from 50% in 2017 to the current over 90%; compliance with the PWDs sign language insert requirement which stood at 70% in 2017 but has since risen to 100%; and the most sort for Childrens’ programming that has now reached 30%, up from a paltry 5% back in 2017. The other improvement is inn the ‘watershed period’ requirement whose compliance level has now surpassed the 90% mark.

“Challenges notwithstanding, we are still recording growth in broadcasting. Our statistics show that as at March 2023, the Authority had licensed 306 Commercial Free-to-Air TV stations, this is up from 60 channel back in 2017. Additionally, as at March 2023, we had 243 Commercial FM radio up from 178.  Pay TV has experience a similar positive shift, moving from 2 Service Providers to 22,” added the CA boss.

The KUZA Awards conference was held on June 15, 2023, a day before the Awards Gala held at the same venue on Friday June 16, 2023.


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