Is broadcast watershed period taken seriously in Kenya?
In the first quarter of 2015, Communications Authority of Kenya proposed a code of conduct for radio and TV services with chief emphasis lying on advertisement and watershed period on broadcast.
Among codes on advertisement was advert insertion between programmes which stated “broadcasters will not be able to insert more than two advertising breaks in a thirty minute programme” also, the regulator prohibited advertising during live broadcast like national holiday ceremonies, parliamentary proceedings and state of the nation addresses.
On the watershed period, Communications Authority advised on suitable family listening and viewing content between 5.00 AM and 10 AM. In a recent analysis of comments submitted on the consultation on the programme code and complaints handling procedure held on 9th July 2015, supporting factors for the need of implementing proper watershed regulations were;
Children are unlikely to be awake before 5.00a.m. Due to traffic jams and homework obligations some children, especially school-going children in urban settings, wake up early and sleep at or even after 10.00pm. Therefore, Content aired should also discourage same sex relationships, even in form of animation. Advertising within the watershed period in which racy, sexual implications to sell products should be discouraged. Advertising cigarette and alcohol commercials during watershed period should also be discouraged.
Still on watershed period programme interruption, attendees highlighted on trailers ‘Trailers for programmes that require parental guidance should not broadcast during watershed period’ however, Communications Authority has previously given consent on the airing of content that needs Parental guidance therefore beating sense by burning trailers with the same restriction. In the recommendation of the issue raised, Section 3.5.4 should be amended to read: Trailers for programmes rated 16 and 18 should not be broadcast during the watershed period.
Also, programmes rated 16 and 18 should be excluded from programmes aired during watershed period.
Even as Communications Authority goes on and on with outlining these regulations, little is seen through content aired by our media houses. Sexual advertisement continue to be order of the day even when the advertisement is of a basic commodity like soap, unregulated radio content still thrives to date and alcoholic advertisements have no specific timing in accordance to the regulations. There is therefore need for the regulator to work closely with the Kenya Film Classification Board to develop the guidelines for rating of commercials, infomercials, documentaries, programme promotions, programme listings, community service announcements and station identifications.