The Communications Authority of Kenya has flagged six TV stations for providing coverage of the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition's nationwide anti-government demonstrations in a manner it claimed violated the programming code.

Ezra Chiloba, the authority’s chair issued a statement on Wednesday saying the coverage the mentioned stations namely Citizen TV, NTV, K24, KBC, TV47 and Ebru TV provided depicted scenes that could raise panic among Kenyans and incite members of the public.

Apparently, the authority has been reviewing the broadcast coverage of the nationwide anti-government demonstrations held on Monday.

“Today, the Authority completed a review of Broadcast Coverage of Opposition demonstrations held on 20th March 2023. The Authority has established that at least Six (6) TV stations, namely, Citizen TV, NTV, K24, KBC, TV47 and Ebru TV, provided coverage in a manner that violated the Programming Code,” the statement read in part.

"The coverage depicted scenes that could cause panic or incitement to the public, threating peace and cohesion in the country."

Chiloba said the authority has, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the law, issued notices to the identified broadcasters to remedy the situation and reminded them of their obligations, which were outlined in the statement as follows:

1. Section 33 of the Constitution of Kenya as read together with Section 5B of the Kenya Information and Communication Act, which provide that the constitutionally guaranteed right to Freedom of Expression, does not extend to propaganda for war, incitement to violence, hate speech or advocacy of hatred that constitutes ethnic incitement, vilification of others, or incitement to cause harm or discrimination;

2. Clauses 461 (1) (a) Kenya Information and Communications Act which requires licensed broadcasters to provide responsible and responsive programming that caters for the varied needs and susceptibilities of different sections of the Kenyan community;

3. Clauses 19 (1) (c) and (d) Kenya Information and Communications (Broadcasting) Regulations which requires a licensee to ensure that no broadcasts by its station "glorifies violence or depicts violence in an offensive manner; or is likely to incite, perpetuate hatred, vilify any person or section ofthe community; 

4. Clause 10.2.1 of the Programming Code which requires broadcasters to take care in coverage of crisis situations so as not to hinder or obstruct efforts by authorities to resolve the situation;

5. Section 5.8.4 of the Programming Code which states that presentation of news and commentaries must not be done in a way that would create unnecessary panic or alarm:

6. Section 5.8.3 of the Programming Code which states that morbid, violent, sensational or alarming details that are not essential to factual reporting are not permissible; and 

7. Clause 2.4 of the Programming Code which states that broadcasters are responsible for the broadcast materials relayed on their stations, regardless of their source, as well as professional activities of its employees.

The authority further threatened the media outlets with the withdrawal of their broadcast licences or broadcast frequencies should they fail to comply with the stipulated obligations.

“TAKE NOTICE that failure to adhere to the outlined obligations shall be acting in breach of licence conditions, which shall attract liability under relevant provisions of the law, including revocation of broadcast licence and/or broadcast frequencies,” the statement read.