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Govt Bans All Betting Content On TV and Radio

In a statement, the CA banned the media channels from airing the aforementioned content during the watershed period, which it stated runs from 5.00 am to 10.00 pm everyday.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) on Thursday, September 9 took severe action on all TV and radio stations airing betting activities, lotteries, and prize competitions.

In a statement, the CA banned the media channels from airing the aforementioned content during the watershed period, which it stated runs from 5.00 am to 10.00 pm everyday.

The ban was enforced after the regulator noted with concern that broadcasting stations aired and promoted gaming activities and related advertisements in blatant violation of the provisions of the Kenya Information and Communications Act (1998), Kenya Communications (Broadcasting) Regulations 2009, the Programming Code, Broadcasting license conditions as well as the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act, Chapter 131 of the Laws of Kenya.

Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) offices in Nairobi. /FILE

The authority charged that failure to fully comply with the new directive will lead to regulatory actions being taken against any violation, which will include, but not limited to, levying penalties as prescribed in Section 83A of the Act, suspension of broadcasting license, and revocation of assigned broadcasting frequencies and/or licenses where applicable.

“There will be no airing of programming that promotes gaming and gaming adverts during the watershed period as prescribed under the Kenya Information and Communication Act 1998, the Kenya Communication (Broadcasting) Regulations, and the programming code, with effect from Thursday, 9th September 2021.” read the statement in part by the regulator’s Acting Director-General Tom Olwero.

Olwero added that broadcasters are required by license conditions to ensure that their programming content or services and any promotional materials must not be facilitated or encouraged especially that which is likely to mislead through inaccuracies, ambiguities, exaggeration, omissions, or take unfair advantage of any characteristic or circumstance which may exploit consumers‘ vulnerabilities.

“The Programming Code prohibits airing of content intended for adult audiences, specifically that which is unsuitable for children during the watershed period,” he warned.

CA further assured the public that it will continue to monitor the programs aired by broadcasters to ensure conformance to the provisions of the Kenya Information and Communications Act, the Broadcasting Regulations, the Programming Code and licensing conditions, and all other attendant laws.

It gave powers to the members of the public to report any incident where a broadcaster airs gaming activities during the watershed period, to the attention of the Authority or Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB).

The ban came after the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) ordered all radio stations to cease airing lottery or prize competition draws.

In a letter addressed to all radio stations, BCLB stated that Prize Competition license holders were misusing the permits by signing agreements with radio stations to air the draws on their behalf, without legal permission. According to the board, the draws should be conducted in public and in full view of officials from BCLB.

“Radio stations will not be allowed to carry out any lottery or prize competition draw unless the said radio station has a gaming permit. The license holder will conduct draws witnessed by the officers from the Board as per the law and only engage radio stations for normal advertisement/promotion as per the prevailing advertisement conditions,” BCLB said in the letter.

The regulatory body added that the Paybill account numbers that have been so far used in the competition must be in the name of the entity carrying out the promotion and not the radio station to help in monitoring the license holders.

Failure to adhere to the new directive, license holders will have their permits withdrawn and action taken against the radio stations involved.

The betting shows that have been aired in a majority of radio and TV stations have been one of the ways they generate income to sustain their services.

A radio presenter at work. /FILE

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Marvin Chege
About author: Digital journalist and managing director with a passion for writing captivating stories. Marvin is a young scribe, a social media, sports, gaming junkie and realist who specialises in viral news, multimedia and investigative storytelling.

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