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IMPACT of digital switch China’s Big Media Plans Kenya’s down memory lane on television

Embracing the DIGITAL AGE The Media Observer


About Us The Media Council of Kenya is an independent national institution established by the Media Act 2007 as the leading institution in the regulation of media and in the conduct and discipline of journalists.

Vision A professional and free media accountable to the public.

Mission To safeguard media freedom, enhance professionalism and arbitrate media disputes.

Our Core Values • Integrity • Independence • Professionalism • Transparency and Accountability

Council’s Role, Mandate, Functions and Authority The Council draws its mandate and authority from the Media Act CAP 411B. Its functions of are to: • Mediate or arbitrate in disputes between the government and the media, between the public and the media and intra-media. • Promote and protect freedom and independence of the media. • Promote high professional standards amongst journalists. • Enhance professional collaboration among media practitioners. • Promote ethical standards among journalists and in the media. • Ensure the protection of the rights and privileges of journalists in the performance of their duties. • Advise the government or the relevant authority on matters pertaining to professional, education and the training of journalists and other media practitioners. • Make recommendations on the employment criteria for journalists. • Uphold and maintain the ethics and discipline of journalists. • Do all matters that appertain to the effective implementation of this Act. • Compile and maintain a register of journalists, media practitioners, media enterprises and such other related registers. • Conduct an annual review of the performance and the general public opinion of the media, and publish the results. 2

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CONTENTS Could Kenya’s digital switch be too ambitious?


China’s big plans for Kenyan Media



Journalism in the Age of Digital Technology


Editorial Team:

Media Law in Kenya in the era of digital broadcasting


Journalists Skills Upgrading


Trauma Counselling


Impact of switch to digital broadcasting on journalism training


Pros & Cons for TV viewers in digital broadcasting


Dropping costs of decoders


Current status of the digital migration, challenges and opportunities


Media Council of Kenya P. O. Box 43132 - 00100 Nairobi Tel: (+254 20) 2737058, 2725032 Mobile: (+254 727) 735252

Chief Executive Officer Haron Mwangi Editorial Board: Joseph Odindo Mitch Odero Levi Obonyo Martha Mbugguss Otsieno Namwaya Consulting Editor Gathenya Njaramba Editorial Coordinators Victor Bwire Jerry Abuga Contributors Jerry Abuga Ruth Kwamboka Lorine Achieng Levi Obonyo Edwin Nyutho Ben Sihanya Henry Maina Eric Nyakagwa Gitonga Muranga Mark Oloo Morris Arron James Ratemo Kennedy Shivairo Haron Mwangi Design & Layout





Brett Communications Limited Tel: 020 4453730 Email: Website: The Media Observer is published quarterly by the Media Council of Kenya with assistance from Ford Foundation. The views expressed in articles published in this publication are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of the Media Council of Kenya.

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Editor’s Note

Digital broadcasting a reality for journalists and consumers


enyans are about to enjoy a wonderful television experience! The switch from analogue broadcasting to a digital platform will soon become a reality for Kenyan television viewers and journalists. They will, at the touch of a button, view a wide variety of programming channels from all over the world. They will access higher video and audio quality as well as greater spectrum efficiency. Digital broadcasting will also be a game changer for the practice of journalism in Kenya. Journalism training, especially for electronic journalists will get an overhaul with new tools and skills coming in vogue. For instance, due to the online platforms where nearly everyone with a camera can post pictures and stories on the internet immediately something happens, electronic journalists will need to go beyond telling their audience what happens. They will have to devise creative ways and offer more interesting perspectives to hold on to the viewers.


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Digital broadcasting will invite changes in media law as Prof Ben Sihanya explains in regard to digital copyright, trade mark and domain name system. Apparently, digital broadcasting will raise crucial intellectual property queries that must be thrashed out legally. The media and policy makers will have to come up with strict regulations to avert potential infringement. It is expected that Kenya will also learn the best practices from around the world to make the ‘Big Switch’ worthwhile and with change, there is the inevitable cost implication. To enjoy digital broadcasting, consumers will have to purchase decoders. It is estimated the Government could spend an estimated Ksh 6 billion to supply some 2 million poor households with free converter boxes for them to access digital TV. It will also be a relief for most consumers after the Government zero-rates set top converter boxes. We hope this special edition of The Media Observer will be an eye-opener and will answer all the burning queries on the ‘Big Switch’ from analogue broadcasting to digital broadcasting. Enjoy the read and as usual, we welcome your feedback. Gathenya Njaramba, Consulting Editor

Kenya’s digital switch could be too ambitious When German physicist Albert Einstein said technology would one day exceed humanity, he had no idea the remark would be food for thought in the 21st Century. MARK OLOO examines this prodigious philosophy.


is viewpoint has gradually changed into reality, as countries — mostly the developing nations — fight tooth and nail to technologically rise to the occasion. And as the clamour for the much-anticipated switch from analogue to digital TV takes centre stage, stakes are high in Kenya amid concerns meeting the 2015 target for full migration could be too ambitious. The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) estimates the initial cost of implementation of the digital migration project at Sh4 billion but projections are that complete transi-

tion will cost between Sh5 billion to Sh10 billion or even more. However, despite the relatively low uptake of digital TV in Kenya blamed on haphazard execution, low awareness and lack of funding by the Treasury since President Mwai Kibaki commissioned the digital switch in December 2009, the Government and industry regulator CCK are upbeat. CCK says the switchover is achievable and if done, will be in conformity with the resolutions of the Second Session of the Regional Radio Communications Conference of 2006. However, by early this year, CCK showed only 13,000 Digital Video Broadcasting –Terrestrial (DVB-T) set-top-boxes had been sold to the Kenyan market, a far cry from the millions the regulator had been expecting. Nicholus Omondi, the lead technician at Signet, a subsidiary of KBC, which was formed to spearhead the transition into digital, says with the current pace, the country could fail to beat even the 2015 global deadline and could be forced to appeal for more time to push the switch off slightly after the deadline. “We had thought The Media Observer


that we had the capacity to transmit digital TV by next year but that target now looks beyond us. Efforts should have been put in place since 2009 to ensure the success,” says Omondi. A taskforce on Transition to Digital Broadcasting set up on March 14 2007 developed recommendations for the effective implementation of digital broadcasting. The team chaired by Information PS Bitange Ndemo and comprising experts from his ministry, CCK, KBC, national communication secretariat and private media executives helped develop appropriate policy and regulatory frameworks. Dr Ndemo has repeatedly appealed to content providers to ensure digital migration offers a break with the past by paving the way for exciting and fresh contents to its audience. “Although it is the role of the Government to ensure successful digital migration, broadcasters must recognize it is also their responsibility and other content providers to ensure that Kenyans enjoy the advantages and benefits of digital transition by way of new, and fresh programme content,” says Dr Ndemo. The 2009 census results revealed that the percentage of households with television sets stands at 28 per cent. Put plainly, there were about 730,000 TV sets in Kenya or 25 sets for every 1,000 people.


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MultiChoice Africa has recently introduced GoTV decoder as it seeks to roll out its services across the country. It now offers services in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

CCK, in liaison with the Digital Television Committee, is committed to providing support by training content producers to enrich TV programme content. Currently, all TV stations in Nairobi offering free to air television services are accommodated on the Digital Terrestrial Television platform provided by Signet. When he unveiled the technology in 2009, President Kibaki directed the Treasury to find means of providing tax relief for the importation of set top boxes to make them affordable. However, these incentives were missing during the last two budgets with just Sh650 million set aside for the process, Sh250 million in the 20102011 budget and a further Sh400 million in the current financial year.

Kenyans have also been left torn between providers of digital content. They include Zuku TV, MultiChoice Africa and StarTimes Media, who have all been fighting tooth and nail to spice up their content for viewers. The Smart TV Company, which had invested in set-top boxes that use DVB T1 technology, was affected in 2010 when the Government resolved to upgrade to DVB T2. Another player GTV had earlier closed business. Smart TV was offering eight channels at a subscription of Ksh990 monthly. StarTimes Media pay TV company sells decoders at Ksh2,999. MultiChoice Africa has recently introduced GoTV decoder as it seeks to roll out its services across the country. It now offers services in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. A GoTV user Joel Odidi says the decoder offers him more than 50 channels at a monthly subscription of Sh720. Zuku TV can be installed at a cost of Ksh5,650. DStv, closely rivaled by Zuku, boasts of more than 100,000 clients in Kenya against the former’s more than 30,000. StarTimes, a Chinese firm, is equally bracing up for the stiff competition and hope to build on its experience in others African countries where it has set base. All eyes are on the Government and CCK, the industry regulator, as they seek to sustain the push to have analogue switched off and digital technology switched on amid tight pressure in the race to meet the 2015 global deadline.

China’s big plans for Kenyan Media

Xiaorun called for responsibility by Kenya media houses, saying some media houses have continuously engaged in sensationalised reporting. He was accompanied by the Chief of Information and Public Affairs at the Embassy Shifan Wu and the embassy’s Information and Public Affairs Officer Cliff Mboya. The Media Council of Kenya chairman Prof Levi Obonyo who received the team commended the Chinese government for its continued support to the Kenyan media.

By Jerry Abuga


he Chinese government has extensive plans to ensure good media relations between Chinese establishments and the Kenyan media. The Third Secretary in charge of Information and Public Affairs at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China Gu Xiaorun says China is intent on fostering cordial working relations with the Kenyan media in efforts to bolster greater understanding and enhance professionalism in the media.

The working relations, Xiao run said the will be actualized through exchange visits by journalists and media personnel from Kenya to China, setting up of media outlets run by the Chinese Government in Kenya and scholarships to Kenya students to study in China. Xiao spoke when he visited the Media Council of Kenya offices in late September 2012. He welcomed Kenyan media houses to set base in China, saying such a move will immensely contribute to partnerships and professional collaborations.

Council Puts Quacks on Notice By Jerry Abuga


he Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has issued a notice requiring all journalists practicing in to get accredited Kenya as required by the Media Act 2007.

In a notice carried in all the major dailies in September, the Council called upon government institutions, organisations, the public and other news sources to ensure that only journalists accredited by the Media Council of Kenya cover their events. “NOTICE is hereby given that pursuant to section 19(1) of the Media Act CAP 411B and gazette Notice No. 6498 of 2010, all journalists operating in Kenya MUST be accredited by the Media Council of Kenya”, read part of the notice. The Council advised the institutions to demand for accreditation cards from any journalists covering their events. Already, the Independent

The Third Secretary in charge of Information and Public Affairs at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China Gu Xiaorun [left] and the Chief of Information and Public Affairs at the Embassy Shifan Wu when they visited the Media Council of Kenya offices. Electoral and Boundaries Commission has announced that it will only register journalists accredited by the Media Council of Kenya to cover elections. The Council is at the same time working to harmonise training and accreditation of mid- level colleges offering Diploma and certificates in journalism. Accreditation is a yearly process undertaken to register all journalists practicing in Kenya. It enables the Council’s to fulfil its mandate to compile and maintain a register of journalists, media practitioners, media enterprises and such other related registers. The Media Observer



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Journalism in the Age of Digital Technology The switch to the digital platform promises to bring a whole new dimension in the ages-old journalism profession. As PROF LEVI OBONYO examines, Kenyans will be spoilt for choice with the new age journalism.


he age of special edition of newspapers is gone! Lets start with a refresher lesson on what special editions of newspapers were. In the age of one radio station, one TV station and a handful of newspapers that is now long gone, it was the tradition that newspapers – the medium of record, would come out every morning having gone to bed the previous evening with the stories on the most important events of that day. Per chance an event broke out after the paper had gone to bed – for example some significant person passed on at night, a fire gutted a factory in the morning, and events of that nature, then the newspapers would issue a special edition in the morning or during the day to break the story. But that was then and there were many factors that dictated the issuance of the special edition of the newspapers. The first was the unreliability of the then only radio station. Being state controlled it had long survived on the menu of stories the government approved of. Call them development stories, the approach of journalism popularized by the Manila School of the 1970s; it dictated that the role of the media was in nation building and mobilizing society for social good. To do that successfully the media needed to focus attention on the activities of the government that were aimed at improving the living standards of the people. These included the construction of roads, bridges, the building of dykes among others in the community. This school had its proponents in Africa including the late Ghanaian Scholar Paul Ansah and the Zambian journalism ethics professor Francis Kasoma. But development journalism was not popular beyond the continent’s

shores. David Lamb derided it and there were no shortage of journalism scholars in European capitals that poured scorn on it. Due to the reluctance of the public to fully embrace the government owned or government influenced media stations the Kenyan public somehow had greater trust in the commercial media, a model that had a long tradition in the country. Kenya was already familiar with independent private press and the Standard newspaper has lived long enough to cement that belief. Standard was, in its earlier years and prior to independence, not the best model of objective journalism, particularly with its approach to the treatment of blacks. John Bolton, the shrewd former soldier who traded the gun for the pen, moved the paper very quickly on the eve of independence to start singing government praises. Prior to this, the Standard had been essentially blind to a whole swathe of the population. The Nation filled the gap. In the competition that would attract such other players as Target and Nairobi Times and the all time favorites, Joe and Weekly Review, the Kenyan media market was setting up a tradition of lively press that would cultivate public trust to which Synovate and other merchants of numbers still attest to poll after poll. But the Kenyan public never trusted in the agenda of the government believing somewhat that there was a The Media Observer


hidden agenda in the state’s agenda. The commercial media has somewhat always been presented as vox populi; the people’s voice. But not only that there were other comforts that the now old media came with. For a start, for those who grew up on the staple of old media, nothing could replace the touch, the feel and the smell of a newspaper in ones hand. Those trusted columnists: Joe Kadhi, Philip Ochieng, Wahome Mutahi. Similarly, nothing could replace that special hour with the radio or TV presenter, when the world receded back and the trusted voice, be it that of Leonard Mambo Mbotela, Christiane Amanpour or Job Isaac Mwamuto takes over. But that is the world that has been. Traditional journalism has been plagued by myriad sins. These challenges include the obsession, in the eyes of the public, of old media with profits. In the years since Bagdikian penned Media Monopoly the industry has continued to witness large media swallow small ones, the former towering journalist replaced by a light weight who can be paid less in order to maximize profits, beats that are expensive to cover abandoned to concentrate on those that are cheap to cover, searing investigative reporting, the type that exasperated the former Vice President of the United States Spiro Agnew to lump journalists as “nattering nabobs of negativism” and “hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history” are being replaced by safe stories that did not disturb the web of ownership. It is the age of closing down and swallowing up, where the new distant owner lives oceans away and understand not the heartbeat of the audience. It is in this age of disillusionment with the old media that the angels of mercy sent modern technology that in some sense is changing the face of the practice of the trade. Some students of the media suppose that digital journalism started about 17 years ago in 1995. One could credit the Georgian maverick, Ted Turner’s CNN for this innovation. CNN, in 1993, set up a proprietary online forum about live talk back programs modeled with a profit 10

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The digital print media monitoring system is in use at the Media Council of Kenya’s Media Monitoring Unit.

The old typewriter is gone as is the smoke filled newsroom. Whoever in the design room today has heard of cow gum? Gone too are the tools for measuring the size of the pictures and calculating the fit. strategy in mind. In no time they had launched which expanded to have regional editions for Europe, Asia and Middle East. They further developed local language sites some that were available in Arabic, in Italian, in Spanish and in Turkish. But in these matters consensus is always hard to come by. Others, in tracking digital journalism, go way back to the 1970s with the advent of personal computers that allowed readers to choose the stories they wanted to read. However, the technology flowered with the development of the Internet and the ability of web users to store and swap files. Over the years the technology has miniaturized

and improved in its capacity not only to affect how people access media, but further how information is gathered, who is gathering it, how it is processed, and what is done with it after access. Technology has certainly changed the tools of journalism. The old caricature of a chain smoking male, his hair unkempt, a cigarette in one hand and a pen in the other is fast swapping places with a suave man and woman. The old typewriter is gone as is the smoke filled newsroom. Whoever in the design room today has heard of cow gum? Gone too are the tools for measuring the size of the pictures and calculating the fit. A journalism student recently confronted me wanting to know why shorthand is no longer taught! He could have been carrying a digital recorder. It is the age of the stylus! A photojournalism class recently got stuck because they could not access black and white film. The last store that stocked the black and white film closed shop a while back, Kodak is no longer in the business they dominated for over a century. It is 1984 all over, George Orwell should see it. The new disciples to emerge from this age of technology that are challenging the old order are the citizen journalist

and the blogger. They hold a digital camera, a digital recorder, a personal computer with access to the internet and loads of freely downloaded software from the open source. In some corner of their bed they are busy at work. Sometimes they do not have the patience to rush to their computers – their cellphones that rolls all these functions into one simply does the trick on the heat of the moment, right on site. They could be brush and opinionated; driven by the spirit of the new age they are individualistic and believe that they know sometimes more than they actually do. They consider the traditional gatekeeper an inconvenience and a drag. Digital technology has affected traditional journalism mightily. The professional journalist and the citizen reporter now, in most cases work together; the one providing on site account and the other shaping it professionally. But digital media has also made it possible for journalists to access help, in reporting stories, for computer. Unfortunately, this is one area where most journalists

have reduced simply to checking Wikipedia. The reality could not be better than that. There are massive data bases online that journalists could access to give them background information for the stories that they are covering. In Kenya, for instance, the government’s open site stores massive data and yet there are very few journalists who use this resource to aid them in covering a story. The computer is not only useful in helping a reporter access data, but could also be used to analyze that data so that the audience can make sense of the data being processed.

However, in utilizing the resources that are online it is important for journalists to exercise caution. Not every site is credible. Incredibly, one such site that may not be always credible is the Wikipedia site. The digital technology platform is facilitating reporters from different media to collaborate. In a world where the boundaries are blurring the pull of loyalty is equally growing weak facilitating complementarity where the one recognizes their weaknesses and strengths and contributing their strengths towards a bigger story. This is much more so in editing, where because of the ability to swap files and to access files on various platforms concurrently, various editors can be working on the story simultaneously. But it has also lead to open publishing. Who knows the many gems that lay buried because some editor did not consider them worthy? The digital platform provides a way of overcoming this barrier. However, without the angels we would never know the devil. There are also many

works out there, in the name of open publishing, that are not worth the site they are published on. What is the impact of digital journalism? In spite of the full praise that geeks have for the technology is it possible that its impact on journalism could be overrated? But to assess this successfully we have to define journalism first. The Media Act definition is rather general: “journalism means the collecting, writing, editing and presenting of news or news articles in newspapers and magazines, radio and television,

and in the internet”. But the Act does not define “news”. First the technology, unlike the traditional media, has not been able to set agenda. Claims have been made, for example, in the aftermath of the Arab spring that it attested to the power of technology. However, the reality may not be very clear. Some have posited that the new media lacks the capacity to focus the attention of the mass at the same moment as the traditional media does. In the case of the Arab Spring, for example, that the image of the burning body of the young man had been first broadcast by the traditional media prior to its being taken up by the social media. But there are clear advantages with the digital media. It does, in a way that the traditional media has not mastered, empower the audience to go beyond the journalist and the news story and check the origins of the story for themselves. But secondly it has changed the art of story telling. While the traditional media, for eons depended on the inverted pyramid as a tried approach to news presentation, digital media does provide the capacity for mapping making it possible for the viewer to do more than just read the story. The audience can change the approach to the story, concentrate on the facts of interest and go forth and back in the story. What the digital media does spectacularly is to make information accessible, empowering the viewers and making it difficult for those who have access to information to hoard it. But there are dangers with it. It easily leads to unregulated information. The mechanisms that traditional media has of checking facts through the gatekeeping process are not available to some forms of digital journalism. Too often the stories carried by bloggers and by citizen journalists are subjective. This is where journalism was in its formative stages. There is also a sense of amateurishness in the manner in which digital media practitioners report their stories. It exhibits little depth and certainly hardly any professionalism. But more critical the digital error in journalism kills the authoritarian voice of reason.

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Media Law in Kenya in the era of digital broadcasting

The transmission of broadcasting is expected to raise important intellectual property (IP) issues especially regarding digital copyright, trade mark and the domain name system. As Prof Paul Goldstein of Stanford has stated elsewhere creators of broadcast content will be required to produce high-technology and more programmes to cater for the growing demand expected by the viewers and receivers of digital broadcasts or the “celestial jukebox.� Digital broadcasting fundamentally questions traditional copyright doctrine and practice. Creators of digital projects build up some works and interests.

What are policies and the laws on digital media?

The switch to digital broadcasting will raise crucial intellectual property queries that must be thrashed out legally. The media and policy makers will have to come up with strict regulations to avert potential infringement. PROF BEN SIHANYA explores.


his article analyses media law in the era of digital technology. It attempts to answer four interrelated questions: First, what is digital migration? Second, what is digital technology in the communication context? Third, what are the policies, laws and regulations governing communication and how sustainable are these laws in the emerging digital environment? Fourth, in what ways can we reform communication law in Kenya to address the digital context? Digital broadcasting raises regulatory questions that fall under a three-pronged typology in what I call the Yochai BenklerLawrence Lessig (Benkler-Lessig) model. First, the physical layer or architecture comprising transmission, distribution and reception technologies including wires, wireless connectivity and fibre optics. Second, the code or software layer which is the intelligence that runs the system. Third, is the content, which includes voice, data, images or graphics that constitute privacy, pornography, hate speech, copyright, trade mark and domain names system.


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Digital information is protected under copyright, trade mark, and domain name system. Copyright is a bundle of rights that protects and promotes the creators of literary, musical and artistic work. (Traditional) copyright also protects and promotes producers of audio-visual works, sound recordings and broadcasts. The rights include reproduction, distribution, communication to the public, adaptation and translation, performance and broadcasting of the work. As digital broadcasting develops, many creators are under risk of digital infringements of their copyrighted and other works protected and promoted by intellectual property (IP). Judicious and equitable copyright administration and enforcement therefore become necessary. Copyright infringement also raises the question of the adequacy of the existing communication laws. Some of the questions include: do existing laws protect content developers and distributors of digital broadcasts? Does the material fall under copyrightable material? Can the Kenyan right holders constrain the development of digital broadcasting, given the specificity and territorial nature of copyright? In Kenya digital materials is protected under Kenya’s Copyright Act, 2001 and the relevant statutes in South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Zambia, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Uganda, and other African countries. This statute incorporates

photography or Internet or cellular telephony, there are at least two major issues regarding policy and law. First, digital technology may usher in utopia or a solution to many communication challenges. To others, it will lead to dystopia or disruption of communication policy and law.

Journalism students using the Internet. the provisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO’s) Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, including Trade in Counterfeit Goods, 1994 (the TRIPs Agreement) and the two World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties of 1996, namely, the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT). These are also referred to as the WIPO Internet Treaties. Copyrightable digital materials in Kenya fall within the definition of what is copyrightable subject matter. Section 22 of the Act lists copyrightable as: (a) literary work, (b) musical work, (c) artistic work, (d) audio-visual work, (e) sound recording; and (f) broadcasts. Section 2 gives examples under the foregoing categories. The last three categories fall under “related works or rights.” In some countries broadcasts now include cable casts and web casts. Literary works include e-books, e-lyrics, other Internet or digital text as well as software.

the idea per se (itself). This is known, in respect of software copyright, as the “look and feel” phenomenon. Copyright protects the intellectual and economic interests of creators, owners, assigns, (sub) licensees and publishers of literary, artistic, musical, and audio-visual works as well a Broadcast. An example of a digital copyright dispute is the ongoing case regarding JB Maina’s music and involving him, Safaricom, and Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK). Digital migration or switchover will question most of the received phenomena. And as has happened whenever any new technology is developed, like telephony,

Second, some argue that the laws and policies regarding analogue communication may apply by analogy. Others argue that the relationship between digital broadcasting and pre-existing laws and policies is dialogic or mutually exclusive and completely new laws and policies must be enacted. Either way there is a third perspective. There is both utopia and dystopia; analogy and dichotomy. Existing laws and policies are relevant. What is the efficacy of laws governing digital communication and switchover? Until October 10, 2007 the laws governing communication in Kenya existed as scattered aspects of administrative, criminal and civil laws. They include the Constitution of Kenya, statutory law; and the common law. The Media Act, 2007 and the Constitution of Kenya 2010 made major changes especially in seeking to consolidate the law conceptually and in terms of

A digital work is protected under copyright, if the work is original, and expressed in a tangible, material or fixed form. The Act implicitly defines originality in terms of “sufficient effort has been expended on making the work to give it an original character.” And tangibility refers to “work which has been written down, recorded or otherwise reduced to material form.” Copyright law protects and promotes the expression of ideas, that is, information, facts, data, formulae, knowledge or concepts. It protects the manner in which a creator expresses a particular idea but not

Musician JB Maina is involved in a copyright dispute with Safaricom and the Music Copyright Society of Kenya. The Media Observer


policy. The Media Bill, 2010 partly addresses generic pressures and important developments since 2007. But it has not been enacted. In 2008 Kenya went through serious conflict and violence triggered by the fraudulent presidential election of December 2007. There was even a ban on live broadcasting. President Mwai Kibaki’s administration (2002-07) did not address issues that have been raised by stakeholders. For instance, the Act is weak on ethnic diversity. It is silent on social media and social networking through Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Linkedin, Flickr, Friendster, Myspace, Desktop Dating, and Skype. Yet these form part of the digital platform for distributing and accessing materials.

regulation of the digital environment. First, it gave legal recognition to the use of electronic records and electronic (or digital) signatures. Second, it created new offences with respect to electronic records. Third, it sought to remove perceived legal uncertainties about the admissibility of electronic records as evidence in court proceedings. But the Act has been criticized on at least three grounds. First, that Act empowers the State to arbitrarily raid media houses without a search warrant as was done to the Standard Group. Second, that it gives the State the power to control distribution of content. Third, that the state has the sole discretion of issuing

Some of these have witnessed an explosion of subscribers in a short while. The amount of proprietary or personal information divulged on such sites may be used in a manner detrimental to creators or users. This may lead to cybercrimes. Some of these concerns have been raised by the media industry and need to be addressed before the Bill is passed. These are just a few of the many inadequacies of the Media Bill 2010. There are important privacy concerns. Numerous users of the Internet and social media are at risk of infringements of their fundamental rights and freedoms under the 2010 Constitution, and especially the right to privacy and security (Arts 31 & 29). The 2010 Constitution provides for liberty and responsibility. Therein lies the challenge and opportunity to address digital or cyber crime. Other recent communication laws in Kenya include the Kenya Communication (Amendment) Act 2008 which came into effect in January 2009. This law was enacted to reform digital communication law and facilitate the development of the information and communication technology (ICT) sector including broadcasting. The Act addressed the following three-pronged typology regarding 14

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broadcasting licences. Some of the provisions of the Act are inconsistent with Art. 33, 35 and 34 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 which guarantee the freedom of expression, right to access information and freedom of the media. This Act should be reviewed to address digital migration and related issues. The Kenya Information and Communication Act of 2009 is another communication law in Kenya. New technologies and new ways of communication necessitate the amendment of the Act, to cater for the growing size and complexity of

the industry. For instance, according to Consumer Federation of Kenya (CFK), the Naivasha Member of Parliament Mr John Mututho was pushing for an end to caller privacy. He reportedly wanted to make caller identity information accessible to anyone who sought such details from mobile phone operators. This proposed amendment and the debate on the anti-terrorism law need judicious policy and legislative guidance.

How do we reform digital communication law? There is need to reform law to address digital challenges to the architecture, software and content. Kenya has made an effort to protect and promote digital copyright. The Copyright Act 2001 (Kenya), the Kenya Communication (Amendment) Act, 2008, the Kenya Information and Communication Act of 2009 must keep pace with developments in the field of information and communication technology. The proposed amendments in related Acts will need to secure balance in two contexts so as to help realize an appropriate digital copyright and content regime. The first is balance between protection and access. And the second is balance between technological protection measures (TPM) like passwords, (de)scrambling, watermarking,, digital rights management (DRM) and Rights Management Information (RMI) on the one hand, and market principles (or the price mechanism), social norms, and copyright and related law, on the other. Similarly viewers of digital broadcasting will have to keep abreast of the new developments. They will be required to lawfully acquire set-top boxes which will convert the digital signals to be received by the analogue TV set if they are to enjoy digital broadcasting. In the digitization plan transparent Government procurement and protection of consumers of digital broadcasting must be streamlined.

Media Training: Enhancing Specialisation in Journalism

MCK Chief Executive officer Haron Mwangi gives a talk on emerging issues in the media in Kenya today during a journalists’ training and public media literacy forum in Nyeri. By Ruth Kwamboka


he Media Council of Kenya has scaled up efforts to enhance specialization in the media through collaborating on trainings for journalists on specific topics including covering children, human rights and conflict sensitive reporting. Over 100 journalists were trained on the issues in Nairobi, Eldoret, Kisumu and Nyeri where the MCK collaborated with Plan International, Office of the High Commission for Human Rights and FES The Media Council of Kenya Chief Executive Officer Haron Mwangi expressed concerns over the dwindling parental responsibility on media content consumed by children. He urged journalists to be cautious of the impact the media has on children. “”Media houses have no watershed hours and content that is not beneficial to the growth of family life is being aired as early as seven o’clock. Protection of children goes beyond protecting them during conflict, but

also covers what they watch or read”, said Mwangi. During the training on children coverage in September in Nairobi, Plan International Country Director John Morris decried the poor coverage of issues touching on children, saying the multiplicity of channels has not been utilised to highlight issues affecting children. “There is so much information out there with the increase of channels but children’s stories do not get that much coverage. I encourage you to endeavor to give new angles and different slants when covering calamities involving children. Ensure that your work does not bring harm to any child”, he said. Lawyer Bobby Mkangi acknowledged improvements made by the media in coverage of issues affecting children but challenged the journalists’ perception of children as sources, saying that despite their presumed naivety children should be viewed as news sources.

The Media Council of Kenya collaborated with Plan International to train journalists on children coverage in September in Nairobi.

While acknowledging that the new constitution protects children, Mkangi called for a framework that addresses children’s issues. Former Daily Nation Managing Editor Joe Kadhi advised journalists to always seek consent from parents or guardians before covering children. “It is only in matters of public interest where journalists are allowed to carry on without permission from guardians”, he said. The MCK/OHCHR collaboration saw the participating journalists exposed to skills and techniques for reporting on human rights while the FES collaboration involved training on conflict sensitive reporting. MCK CEO Haron Mwangi disclosed that the Council has more plans for trainings on specialized areas of reporting through partnering with institutions with interest in specific topics. The Media Observer


Wellington Nyongesa of Radio Maisha takes trainers through a session on interviewing skills during a training hosted by MCK in Nyeri.

Journalists Skills

Upgrading In-House Trainings take Shape

By Ruth Kwamboka


he Media Council of Kenya continued to conduct in-house training sessions in different media houses. The Council held a session for reporters, news anchors, editors and cameramen based at the Standard Media Group from 24th to 26th July, 2012. Similar trainings were held for journalists at Royal Media Services and a community radio station, Pamoja FM. The trainings are geared towards building journalists’ capacities in covering elections and conducting themselves ethically as they undertake their duties.


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The journalists were taken through the recently launched Guidelines for Elections Coverage and the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya. Veteran journalist and media trainer Joe Kadhi commended the Fourth Estate for its balanced reporting on the debatable biometric voter registration tendering process of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

their duties. “Good journalism does not necessarily mean being adversarial, therefore always work in moderation. When you hold that microphone and incite the public to negative actions, know that you will be held responsible”, he said as he reminded the journalists of the power they hold both in and outside their broadcasting studio.

Veteran journalist and media trainer Joe Kadhi takes journalists through the paces at one of the Media Council of Kenya training sessions.

He advised journalists to go beyond politicians ‘Game of Strategy and hype’ and critically analyse their manifestos and ideologies. “It is time for the fourth estate to start championing for candidates to share platforms”, said Joe Kadhi on journalists covering campaigns and the upcoming elections.

conflicts with the law. The journalists were trained on safety and protection while online. He also advised the journalists to exercise restraint as they undertake

Bwire cautioned journalists against association with party activists or spokespersons while covering election campaigns. He at the same time, encouraged them to give their best while reporting, even as they take care of their security. “Always take charge when handling call-ins. Report fearlessly but also be safe,” he concluded. The session was attended by 103 print and broadcast journalists. This was one of the several in-house trainings that the Media Council of Kenya is undertaking in various media houses.

The journalists were encouraged to be impartial by producing fair and balanced reporting. “The more angles you give your story, the closer you are to achieving balance. A good journalist is one who is able to interpret ideas by two opposing sides and bring out an understanding out of it. Always include both sides as more opinions mean less bias”, said Kadhi.

Safety and Protection The journalists were also trained on self-protection while in the course of duty as human rights defenders. The Media Council of Kenya Programmes Manager Victor Bwire urged the journalists to always conduct themselves ethically and be aware of their surroundings ‘in case of any unusual occurrences.’ On the legal front, the journalists and editors were reminded that they to needed to take initiative to know what is expected of them to avoid

Media Council of Kenya Chief Executive Officer Haron Mwangi [third right, front row] with participants take a break during a training for journalists hosted by the MCK and FES in Mombasa. The Media Observer


A group of journalists from the Standard Group at one of the Media Council of Kenya trauma counselling sessions.

Trauma Counselling for Journalists Covering Conflict Sensitive Issues

Media Council of Kenya is the statutory body established by the Media ACT CAP 411B as the only institution to among other things protect the rights and privileges of journalists while performing their duties.


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By Lorine Achieng


rising out of concerns over increasing cases of harassment and intimidation of journalists, the Media Council of Kenya has embarked on trauma counselling for journalists covering conflict –sensitive issues. The inaugural counselling sessions for journalists who recently covered the bloody events in Tana River, Wajir and Somalia is on-going in Nairobi. Those already trained included photographers, cameramen/women and reporters from the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and Capital FM. Scheduled for training will be journalists from Radio Africa Group, Mediamax and Royal Media Services. The sessions are aimed equipping the journalists with knowledge and skills on how to deal with emotional and human disaster related events associated with covering traumatic news events. In addition, the Council has been conducting several training sessions for journalists on safety and protection, conflict and elections coverage, the new constitution electoral related news, media and social responsibility.

“The Council considers intimidation of journalists as a direct affront to democracy as they have the effect of stifling freedom of the media and freedom of expression and hence depriving populations of the ability to make informed decisions about their lives”, said the Media Council of Kenya Chief Executive Officer Haron Mwangi. “In the absence of a safe working environment, journalists cannot write or report freely and independently; the safety of the media is a precondition for free media. Attacks and violence against journalists violates the Kenya Constitution that provides for the protection of all Kenyans and freedom of expression. It is also a violation of international treaties that Kenya is party to”, he added.


switch to digital broadcasting on journalism training


n the throes of human communication history, there has never been a time fraught with change as now. The digital landscape is awash with change.

Electronic media journalists will have to devise creative ways and offer more interesting perspectives to hold on to the viewers. In view of this, journalism trainers will have to revise their curriculum as EDWIN NYUTHO reports.

Before you learn the basic skills that will allow you to participate in the digital revolution, new tools and terminologies emerge. You cannot survive as a trainer unless you continue looking at the vista ahead through a broad lens. New and evolving technology and gadgets are changing and will continue to change both the news organisations and operations, and the way news are consumed. How many of the trainers most of who like me are ‘digital migrants’ coping training the ‘digital natives’, who compromise the majority of our trainees? But despite the sweeping changes that have been occurring, to what extent have communication and journalism training institutions revised their curriculum to match the challenges and needs of the digital era? Have we changed our training

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techniques in line with the new realities or do we continue putting old wine into new bottles? How many of the journalism and communication trainers in our mushrooming training institutions understand the implications of digital convergence that has been ‘flattening’ the world? How many of our universities have bothered to invest in training the trainers to equip them with the new skills and tools of teaching and researching in the digital era? Other than availing inadequate computers to congested computer labs, has there been any real awakening to journalism training techniques to match the changing times in Kenya? If it has changed, it must be only in a handful of training institutions. There are some key questions that come to mind when one thinks of the implications of digital migration to journalism training. First, what is the level of knowledge among the journalism training fraternity in the training institutions? How technology savvy are they? To what extent have they been updating themselves with changing trends even prior to the onset of the digital era? How knowledgeable are they about basic digital literacy and the future trends, in a fast changing world? How many of them have bothered to find out the difference between DV1 and DV2 top boxes that were supposed to have been harnessed on Kenyan TVs by June 2012 to enable the digital crossover? How many know the differences between MPEG 1 and MPEG4? How many have heard of cloud computing and how many have bothered to find out how this development is impacting media operations? Yet the answer to these questions is at their fingertips. Secondly, how is the training taking place? Is it in the traditional lecture method that is common in our lecture rooms with the digitally deprived lecturers chalking and talking using lecture notes gleaned from theories and texts of yester years? Of what 20

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benefit is that sort of knowledge in this case, where we require less theorising and more application of skills and tools using digital mobile and wired devices? Lastly, in our training institutions, what are the available facilities for both the trainers and the trainees? Do the trainers and trainees have access to computers wired to the internet through broadband connectivity or could they be using some modem which takes a lifetime to download a pdf file? If so, what is the ratio of computers to the trainees? Are there dedicated computer labs which are accessible for hands on training on the use of applications

ICT is much more than a tool and provides a digital window to globally accessible information and new ways to interact in the creation of knowledge. Web 2.0 applications are changing the manner in which people connect and interact in ways that will undoubtedly lead to cultural changes that education will need to understand and harness if learning opportunities are to be maximised. One of the things the www is redefining is news. “News is a conversation, not a lecture.” Readers are no longer passive receivers of our messages. They create, share and comment. The line between a journalist and a blogger is growing thinner as the realm of

Daystar University: Journalism training curriculum will be affected by the switch to digital broadcasting. and use of the new tools? Perhaps even more importantly, we need to ask ourselves about the best and the most effective mode of delivery for this kind of training. Do you really need a face to face mode or can it be delivered through online training? To what extent can we engage through the (DLM), distance learning mode? The World Wide Web (www) is influencing scholarship in an unprecedented way and a major question in education is how to maximise the uses of ICT in education, taking into account that

citizen journalism expands. All news organizations, whether broadcast or print must have a website for them to continue to be relevant. Journalism schools in the developed world are struggling these days with the issue of how deeply to let students sink into specialties. They have learnt to swallow the bitter pill of producing “generalists” and not “specialists”. The gathering consensus is that everyone “should know how to do one thing well but be able to work at least in the margins

of the other crafts.” As technology and media economics push us toward platform convergence, a new model emerges: The journalist who is a jack of all trades and master of none, a person who can write, shoot, edit, talk, and look good on camera with a competence that might not be great but is good enough. A good reporter would be redefined as one who is good enough in any medium. If we were to compare journalism training to football coaching, we need to coach our strikers to go to where the ball is going, not to where it is and be able to precisely time the moment it will get there. Building a network of engaged users is a different ball game. To stay on top of a story, expert trainers in digital reporting advice that instead of trying to produce a perfect “final” product daily, weekly, or monthly, journalists working online must now optimize their standards to produce new content on a near-constant cycle. This shift from the mentality of a “final product” to a “work in progress” (or several smaller works over the course of a day) also means anticipating and embracing the fact that the content will be immediately commented upon, repurposed or enhanced by users. For some organizations, such immediacy lessens the value and duration of exclusives or scoops in reporting. Instead, in the cable news and Internet driven 24/7 news cycle,

journalists attempt to synthesize their own reporting as well as that of others’ on an ongoing and updated basis. As Jan Schaffer, Executive Director of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism aptly described: “News now takes the form of ‘here is what we know now, here is what we would like to know, and what do you know as a consumer, what can you add?”

The means to publish is now in the hands of citizens, while the internet encourages new forms of journalism that are interactive and immediate. Such a shift provides new opportunities for professional journalists to interact with users who are not professionally trained as journalists, engaging them in “crowd sourced” investigation, fact checking, story recommendation and more. Such collaborations break down the gatekeeping roles of journalists and editors, but do not necessarily mean that quality or trust is reduced. Instead, by establishing shared

Students in class. Journalism training institutions will have to adapt to a fast changing environment.

standards and contexts for online news production, news organizations build alliances with users that bring outside skills and expertise in to help produce, maintain and monitor highquality reporting. As more journalists go online, and more citizen journalists move into news production, serious questions emerge about the ethics of online communication. A media revolution is transforming, fundamentally and irrevocably, the nature of journalism and its ethics. The means to publish is now in the hands of citizens, while the internet encourages new forms of journalism that are interactive and immediate. The media landscape has become a conglomerate sharing between professional journalists, tweeters, bloggers, citizen journalists, and social media users. New technologies and formats are also transforming the definition and routines of producing journalism in other important ways. Many online reporters, bloggers and commentators eschew “objectivity” defined as ‘proportional balance between two sides’, particularly in cases where the preponderance of expertise and evidence rests in one direction. In conclusion, let’s note that the “people formerly known as the audience” are also taking on new roles, as participants, critics, and collaborators. Users today have many new tools for finding broadcast content, including search engines, “favourites” lists, and interactive programme guides. TiVo recorders, video-on-demand, podcasting, and online video sources such as YouTube mean that fewer audience members engage in “appointment media” time with television or radio. What is the implication of all this to journalism training? Do we join the doomsday prophets who sing that journalism is dying and chorus that journalism training is coming home too? Far from it. The profession was never for the faint hearted ever since the days of Herodotus the father of journalism. Both the trainers and trainees must, to use the words of Antony D’Angelo, become students of change. “It is the only thing that will remain constant.” If they don’t, they will be finished.

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Media Literacy: Media Council of Kenya Engages the Public

Public participation: The Public Media Literacy Forum held in Nakuru. By Jerry Abuga


n its pursuit to promote public interest and boost media awareness in the country, the Media Council of Kenya held a Media Literacy Forum titled: “Media Coverage and Representation of Emerging Issues in the Western Region”. The event was held on Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at Jumuiya Guest House in Kisumu Town. The Kisumu Forum gave the public an opportunity to engage in an open discussion on the media coverage of key issues considered to touch the social, economic, political and cultural spheres in the Western Region. These included: Coverage of historical injustices in Western Region, Land and cultural issues in the Western Region and Conflict-sensitive reporting in the electioneering period The main discussant, Mr Joe Kadhi, a Journalism Lecturer at the United States International University and


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former Managing Editor of the Daily Nation made a presentation titled: “Avoiding Another Bloodbath” which zeroed in on the role of the media in the 2007 post- election violence. Mr Kadhi’s presentation majorly dwelt on coverage of the 2007 general elections by print media where he gave a comprehensive analysis of coverage by the country’s mainstream newspapers: The Nation, The Standard, The People and The Star. From the presentation, it was acknowledged that the media played its role of information dissemination but on the other hand started its role of peace and reconciliation too late. For instance the infamous “save our country” front page editorial published by all media houses in the country only came in in January, hence the question why it was done so late. Another discussant, lawyer and former Commissioner of the Interim Independent Boundaries Commission Mr Murshid Abdallah gave a presentation on: 2010 Constitution: Securing Political Contests from Violent Outcomes. His presentation dwelt on areas such as post-election political violence, studies on violence, root causes of violence, security institutions, socio-economic causes of violence, the new constitution, power

The media had portrayed the region as violent with most violent acts including stone-throwing and other acts of lawlessness continued grabbing the front pages of most newspapers and lead stories on television news.

separation, land ownership by noncitizens, historical land injustices, economic and social rights as per Article 43 of the constitution, elections and the role of civilians in the implementation of the constitution and the need for peaceful elections. The media had portrayed the region as violent with most violent acts including stone-throwing and other acts of lawlessness continued grabbing the front pages of most newspapers and lead stories on television news. Another discussant, Kisumu-based advocate Mr Charles Onyango, gave a presentation on Land issues and cultural practices in the Western Region. His presentation focused on coverage by the media on the different cultural, economic and social spheres in the region. He also talked about the 2007 general elections and the subsequent violence. On cultural practices in the region, he pointed out that the media had in its reportage tended to dwell more on the less positive attributes of these cultures, citing wife inheritance, female genital mutilation and such other cultural practices. He also explained that the media had portrayed the region as violent with most violent acts including stone-throwing and other acts of lawlessness continued grabbing the

front pages of most newspapers and lead stories on television news. “This kind of reporting paints the region in negative light and has the effect of turning away potential investors”, he said. He underscored the power of the media in promoting development in the country. Other speakers were from the Witness Protection Agency and National Cohesion and Integration Commission. They reacted on different issues from the public on media coverage versus their respective mandates. The Chairman of the Media Council of Kenya Prof Levi Obonyo and the Chief Executive Officer of the Media Council Haron Mwangi gave presentations on the Media Council of Kenya and its mandate as well as responses to the different questions on the role of the Council in media regulation. The forum was attended by over 250 participants drawn from the public and the Media Council of Kenya stakeholders as well as participants from the civil society, religious sector, donor agencies and government among others.

Eldoret Forum In mid-August, the Council held another Public Media Literacy Forum in Eldoret town in Rift Valley

province titled “Media Coverage and Representation of Emerging Issues in North Rift”. The Eldoret Forum dwelt on issues similar to those in Kisumu. The Executive Director of the Media Council Haron Mwangi and the Chairman of the Ethics and Public Information Committee of the Media Council of Kenya Mr Peter Mutie gave a presentation on the Media Council of Kenya and its mandate as well as responses to the different questions on the role of the Council in media regulation. Another speaker at the forum attended by over 300 participants was the acting Chairperson of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) Dr Samuel Tororei who talked on land issues and historical injustices in the region. He also talked about the media’s role in coverage of land issues in the country, saying lad was a sensitive issue that needed to be handled with utmost care. A number of reactions came from the public, with some journalists being blamed for irresponsible reporting that led to the post-election violence. Female attendees castigated the media for biased and unfair reporting on women, especially candidates for various political seats. They requested the Media Council to undertake a survey to ascertain this. The attendees also questioned the exclusion of vernacular/ community media in the media awards. The media was also blamed for discriminating the informal sector and only concentrating on established firms. Same was said of concentration on coverage of affluent and elite at the expense of the seemingly ‘’poor’’. The media was also asked not to discriminate the remote areas as they only concentrate in the urban areas. The media was also castigated for concentrating on politics at the expense of other socio-economic issues [including issues affecting the youth, women and children].

[From right] Media Council of Kenya Chairman Prof. Levi Obonyo, National Cohesion and Integration Commission Chairman Dr. Mzalendo Kibunjia and an official at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission at the Nakuru Public Media Literacy Forum.

The public also called upon investigative journalists to probe historical land injustices in the region.

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UNESCO, Canadian High Commission & Media Council Journalists Training in Nakuru.

Age doesn’t matter:The Nyeri Public Media Literacy Forum attracted people from all walks of life.

Journalists during a group discussion in one of the training sessions organised by the Media Council of Kenya in Nakuru. Participants listen keenly during a Media Council of Kenya public forum in Kisumu town.


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Round Up

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta when he filed a complaint before the Complaints Commission of the Media Council of Kenya.

Media Council of Kenya Chief Executive Officer Haron Mwangi addresses a public forum in Eldoret town.

A member of the public raises a concern at the Nakuru Public Media Literacy Forum. Journalists at the Media Council of Kenya - Friedrich Ebert Stiftung workshop on conflict sensitive reporting held in Mombasa.

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Digital switchover: Best practices from around the World Kenya needs to learn from the rest of the world on the best practices around the ‘Big Switch’. HENRY MAINA examines the digital technical standards that Kenya can adopt.

President Kibaki signs the new Constitution during its promulgation at Uhuru Park in 2010.


roadcast television has begun the most significant technological change since its birth in the 1920s, thanks to the emergence of digital broadcasting and slow death of the analogue designs that underlay “terrestrial” TV-over-the-air broadcasts from transmitter towers. We need to note that before entrenching the above benefits and the so called “digital dividends”, any country must make three daunting sets of decisions. The foremost is to select a digital technical standard. Each of the world’s four candidate systems- the American Advanced Television Systems Committee(ATSC); the EuropeanDigital Video Broadcasting (DVB); the Japanese-Integrated Services Digital broadcasting(ISDB); and 26

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the Chinese-Digital Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcast(DTMB has divergent characteristics of cost and performance. While Kenya has settled on the enhanced DVB-T2 MPEG 4 as advise by the task force on migration of terrestrial television from analogue to digital broadcasting in Kenya. However, from the justifications of the choice of the digital system, it is clear that considerations that ultimately carried the day were less about technical specifications but more about politics and socio-economic ties. This is clearly manifest because Kenya has the highest mobile subscribers in the region with an estimated 30million. Therefore why did we not pick a system that would have immediately had the ability to broadcast on mobile phones?

In parallel with the decision of Kenya on the digital technology standard are the decisions of spectrum design. Due to the uniqueness of broadcasting and the importance of the services it provides, broadcasts have a special obligation to serve the needs and interests of their communities, however this must be done with the understanding that the spectrum is still finite resource. These decisions must seek to answer the following questions; on which specific frequencies will the new digital broadcasts take place? How many licenses will be assigned to Kenya Broadcasting Corporationstate-owned broadcaster and will KBC be transformed to a public media service?, and how many to the private? How many to free TV, how many to pay TV? How many will go

There is an urgent need to ensure that the regulations are reviewed to conform to the Constitution. Similarly, the current composition of the Communication Commission of Kenya may not pass the constitutional muster as provided for in Article 34 (3) which states inter alia that “broadcasting and other electronic media have freedom of establishment, subject only to licensing procedures that –a) are necessary to regulate the airwaves and other forms of signal distribution; and b) are independent of control of government, political interests or commercial interests.

Technological advancement: A woman uses a mobile phone in one of Kenya’s rural areas. to a single licensee to carry a uniform signal all over the country, and how many to broadcasters that serve a single city or county like Kisumu, Mombasa or Kakamega? How many to mobile TV? What will be the frequency spectrum fees chargeable and by whom shall it be fixed? And finally what will happen to the frequencies that the analog stations surrender? The policy issues around managing this spectrum design are that the regulator must resist undue pressure from politicians and commercial actors. They must fairly and objectively consider all options and refuse the favour of one party over another to ensure that through thoughtful changes to the current frequency allocation table, they bring a flowering of new broadcasting and information services to the country’s airwaves. The third and final decision gigantic decision that governments must make in the transition to digital broadcasting is who will be licensed to broadcast? Given these changes,

The regulator has thus to shift from thinking about specific channel regulation to multi-channel operator terms of carriage requirements.

the broadcast television sector in Kenya is bound to drastically change but this process must have a qualified midwife with clear licensing criteria otherwise the promise of digital switchover will be a stillbirth. Given the draft Independent Communications Commission of Kenya is still just that, a draft after nearly two years since it was published, there is need for more reflection on what may constitute legitimate and legal licensing criteria and in what manner it may be applied. Secondly, we may have to think about the ability of the user to control the content viewed through features on the Set Top Boxes. The regulator has thus to shift from thinking about specific channel regulation to multi-channel operator terms of carriage requirements. The procedural guidelines on how the process will be managed must provide sufficient guarantees against arbitrariness. It must include the requirement that the decisions and reasoning of the licensing authority whether to grant or deny a broadcasting licensing. In terms of the licensing criteria, the starting point is that the regulatory authority must be independent and the basic conditions and criteria governing the granting and renewal of broadcasting licenses should be clearly defined in the law. Given that the current regulatory framework in Kenya as provided for by the Kenya Communications (broadcasting) Regulations, 2009 predate the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.

Second, the regulations governing the broadcasting licensing procedure should be clear and precise and should be applied in an open, transparent and impartial manner. Third, the decisions made by the regulatory authority should be subject to adequate publicity. Fourth, the decisions made by the licensing authority should be open to review by the competent judicial bodies according to national and international law. Fifth, when awarding the digital broadcasting licenses, the relevant public authority must ensure that the services on offer are many and varied, and encourage the establishment of regional or local services that meet the public’s expectations at these levels. Examples from a study by the European Platform of regulatory Authorities indicate that varied approaches have been adopted for the allocation of digital capacity (spectrum). For instance, in Germany, UK, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Austria, Ireland and Lithuania, the capacity was allocated to one or more network/multiplex operators. In other cases, like Sweden and Finland, the capacity is allocated directly to channels. Given the policy decision Kenya has made after advice from the Digital Transition Committee, Kenya will no longer assign frequencies to broadcasters once the signal distributors are in place. The broadcasters will enter into commercial arrangements with signal distributors and the regulator will ensure that the signal distributors provide services to broadcasters promptly on request and without prejudice. The Media Observer


It called the released frequency spectrum is known as the ‘digital dividend.’ But the question that begs is whether enough is being done to prepare the public for this “dream new world” of digital broadcasting. Apart from the publicity associated with the competition to provide these services, and the media advertisements and billboards that one sees on major roads, how much effort is being put into ensuring the ordinary mwananchi is well versed to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digital broadcasting.

...for TV viewers in digital broadcasting There is no doubt that migration from analogue to digital broadcasting will bring with it immense advantages for consumers. ERIC NYAKAGWA explores.


he imminent penetration of digital broadcasting is set to come with its fair share of developments. These include ability to access additional services, higher video and audio quality, greater spectrum efficiency due to associated digital coding techniques and the additional number of frequencies as well as more programming channels that can be accommodated in one frequency. For starters, digital broadcasting uses the radio-frequency spectrum more efficiently than analogue broadcasting. This means that for digital television and Digital


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Radio Mondiale, more than one programming channels will be accommodated in the same amount of frequency spectrum currently required transmitting a single analogue programme. As the taskforce on migration from analogue to digital broadcasting, which was headed by Daniel Obam, noted in its July 2007 report, the switch off of analogue terrestrial broadcasting will release some frequency spectrum in the VHF and UHF frequency bands which could be reassigned to other services such as mobile telephony, fixed wireless access, and mobile datacasting.

As the task force aptly noted, television and radio remain a significant source of information even in developing countries like Kenya. It had recommended that as the government plans the migration from analogue to digital broadcasting, it is important to note that most consumers do not know the difference between the two, yet they are the key target audience. “Education is important as there is little to be gained from access to the digital technology if skills to utilise them are absent or obscure,” noted the taskforce. I was recently shocked when a friend, who had just bought flat screen television set, told me he had been assured by the dealer that it has inbuilt capacity to receive the digital signal. Yet, he could not explain why he still sold him the analogue receiver! As for, Everlyne Maina, who told this writer she works at an insurance company in Nairobi, she bought a converter ready to enjoy the advantages only to discover it was fake. “The Government needs to be more robust in ensuring unscrupulous traders do not take advantage of Kenyans’ ignorance to make a killing,” she said. On buying analogue TV sets, she averred that it does not make economic sense to invest in a set that would only months later require a settop box to receive the digital signal. Alfred Ochieng, a freelance salesman, brought up the issue of rural populations and how they are likely to be affected by digital migration. He averred that even if the set-top boxes

are cheap, many households may not see them as a priority given the many demands on their meagre resources. He further says that the fact that many households in rural areas do not have electricity is likely to hamper their ability to comply with the timelines set by the government. “It is a fact that up to now you are likely to get people watching black and white television. How do you expect them to embrace digital broadcasting?” he posed. The task force had proposed that strategies be put in place to diffuse relevant information to consumers to enable them to understand the need and benefits of the migration to digital broadcasting. It noted that in the context of digital broadcasting, the challenge will not be in convincing the public on the need for televisions and radios but rather the need for appropriate technology to receive digital programming.

must revolve around those parties that will be greatly affected and those whose decisions equally have an implication on the success of the migration; the consumers. It was of the view that the proposed migration period must be adequate and the new medium attractive enough to encourage people to buy new digital equipment. The task force also noted that one of the greatest fears for consumers is the financial implications of the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting. It recommended standard fiscal measures to ensure affordability of the set top boxes while imported equipment for digital broadcasting should be zero-rated to lessen the tax burden. The former has already been effected with Finance minister Njeru Githae zero-rating set-top boxes in his June budget. In addition, Information Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo says there is need to ensure the set boxes should be fairly distributed. “Good case examples are what was done in the UK and US where the government gave people vouchers to buy the boxes. However, the biggest challenge will be determining which households have television sets to avoid fraudsters taking advantage of such an offer,” he recently told Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.

At the same time, it was the task force’s view that migration to digital broadcasting must take into account public interest issues, such as concerns about obsolete technology. Most of the issues are cross-cutting but ultimately concern consumers. “The migration strategy must take cognizant of the consumers, so as to encourage the uptake by users with disparate needs. This requires the collaboration of all stakeholders to improve usability and accessibility to digital broadcasting. The demands of the vulnerable groups must be evaluated and addressed in the migration strategy. There are many demands imposed on people with disabilities both with equipment and content. The impairments range from visual, hearing and dexterity,” it said. There is also the question of what to do with the analogue receivers and the environmental consequences of their disposal. This is a challenge to many countries transiting into the digital age with the US alone having 99 million analog CRT-based television receivers. While retrofitting them with converters and recycling are some of the options available to consumers, it remains a key challenge. The taskforce recommended that the Government discourages the importation of analogue receivers after switchover date. However, consumers need to be assured that their television sets will continue to work and the need for set-top boxes.

The challenge for the government, therefore, is to continue raising awareness on this migration and ensure consumer buy-in. There is also need to ensure that consumers are aware of that the switchover from analogue to digital will have major implications on all service providers and some will be in a rush to profit from the change. In this regard, it had recommended that the government prioritises consumer protection to guard against exploitation through unfair market practices. At the same time, the task force recommended that the priorities of government in the migration process

A typical analogue Tv aerial The Media Observer


Digital Migration:

A tool for information for Kenyans Kenya is migrating to the digital broadcasting platform in a self-declared deadline of 2012. As GITONGA MURANGA reports the potential of digital broadcasting for Kenyans are immense as they provide the platform in which the State ought to utilize to meet its obligations of providing access to information as guaranteed in the Constitution of Kenya 2010’s Article 35. 30

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successful migration and utilization of the digital platform will have the ability to provide wide options for broadcasting services and consumers where the platform can be utilized for education, information and entertainment.

the Kenyan State. Some of the challenges that will need to be resolved in the digital migration journey are the stand offs between the local broadcasters and the Communication Commission of Kenya with regard to awarding of licenses in the digital platform.

It is in no doubt that once digital migration occurs the opportunity for information and knowledge are without limit. The journey to digital migration needs to carry the Kenyans with them and that is not happening adequately enough to make the migration a success. There are changes that must be put in place to adequately support effective utilization of the digital platform and those must be taken into account. Two years into the promulgation of the Kenya Constitution 2010 efforts are yet to bear fruit for the enactment of the Freedom of Information law and Data Protection law. These two laws will be critical in governing the usage, distribution, utilization of data and information in Kenya.

Challenges faced in digital migration

With digital migration the efforts should be reinforced to table the two laws in parliament that will breathe life to Article 35 of the Constitution and provide a platform for regulating receiving of information and protection of personal information and data that are critical to the enjoyment of fundamental rights of Kenyans.

Those protests that were made by the media owners and broadcasters need to be taken into account in addressing their concerns particularly those that affect their competitive edge with foreign broadcasters. The CCK will have to make the playing field fair as this may also affect employment retention of the local broadcasters in view of competition by other foreign broadcasters. The additional content available under the digital platform will need to go hand in hand with regulations to control it and the putting in place measures to safeguard children and other viewers from adult content. The recent past has since an increase in local content that may be affected with the entry of foreign broadcasters and if not regulated lead to

unemployment as well as a decline in development of local programming. Kenya is at an opportune time to bring about the realization of information to its citizens using the digital platform. The opportunities to share and inform the public on various issues will transform Kenya through increased participation in development. This is because Kenyans will participate in development when they have information that will aid their participation. Kenyan education system will also have the opportunity to utilize the platform for education purposes and government agencies and institutions the opportunity to inform citizens about their mandate and functions. With the practicability that mobile phones may have the capacity to receive digital TV transmissions, Kenyans who are known to utilize mobile phones will have access to information at the ‘palm of their hands.’ There is more that needs to be done to bring digital migration to reality and to have Kenyans on board but that also means there is an opportunity for other players to support the initiatives towards digital migration.

A justification that has often been made for the need by citizens to access information held by the State is that the information held by the State is collected and held on behalf of citizens and is required to benefit the citizens in making decisions. The nexus between this requirement and digital migration is the potential digital migration holds to provide the State with the platform to share information with its citizens on various aspects of development and thereby cultivate public participation in the development of

The Media Observer


Dropping costs of decoders to spur digital migration Kshs

Analysts say that over and above competition between sellers of the gadgets, a deliberate government policy on tax was also to the drop in prices. 32

The Media Observer

The high cost of set top converter boxes, which has been a key hindrance to digital migration, is slowly easing off thanks to competition and a recent government decision to zero rate the devises. MORRIS ARON reports.


cost of migration and leaving close to 16million Kenyan households with analogue TV sets could be left without TV signal come December 2012.

Earlier estimates of the cost of migrating from analogue to digital led many to believe that fewer people would successfully afford the

In a move to spur competition and reduce prices, information and communications ministry recently agreed to allow new dealers for the gadgets. The new operators will not be required to establish broadcast infrastructure like masts, but will be hosted by the two licensed signal distributors — Signet and Pan African Network —at a fee. Such a separation of roles will reduce the importance of capital as a barrier to entry in the sector and instead put greater emphasis on content as a competitive tool. The high cost

n a budget statement read by Finance Minister Njeru Githae in Parliament on 14th June 2012, the move is aimed at making the boxes affordable for Kenyans to enable the country beat the world 2015 migration deadline. “The entire world is targeting year 2015 as the deadline to migrate from analogue to digital television signals. To make the set top boxes which form an integral part of this migration available to Kenyans at affordable price, I propose to remove duty on the importation of these gadgets,” Githae noted in the budget statement.

Finance Minister Njeru Githae.

of operation has partly contributed to the dominance of DStv and the collapse of new entrants like GTV and Smart TV. The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) recently said the new providers would be licensed under the digital broadcasting regime, which is replacing the analogue platform. In what is generally positive news, the entrance of Chinese company StarTimes with cheaper decoders has forced one key player to reduce how it prices the digital boxes. StarTimes in June dropped its decoder prices with a package ranging from Sh499 to Ksh2,499 while its decoder goes for Kh3,200, making it slightly cheaper than DSTV’s GOtv package. In August, DSTV followed in the footsteps of StarTimes by launching a GOtv bouquet with a monthly subscription of Ksh599—previously was priced at Ksh720 and the bundle offer which includes a decoder plus a three months GOtv bouquet for Ksh4, 900. A similar bundle was priced at Ksh5, 500 previously. GOtv and StarTimes are the two companies that are so far delivering their digital television entertainment on the advanced DVB-T2, which is the approved signal by Ministry of Information and Communications.

The GOtv signal is provided by Signet, a subsidiary of state broadcaster Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), while StarTimes signal is provided by Pan Africa Networks. GOtv is currently available to subscribers in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. StarTimes has also commenced operations in Mombasa in addition to Nairobi and Kisumu. The firm plans to reach seven other major cities before the end of this year, pushing digital television services to a market dominated by analogue with black and white TV sets, especially in rural Kenya accounting for 40 per cent of the market. StarTimes, which is in various countries in East and West Africa said it has invested $75 million (Kh6.4 billion) to build a countrywide platform that is DVB-T2 compliant. Another competitor in the PayTV

sector is Wananchi Group’s Zuku, which is on a quest to improve its market share. The current set top boxes recommended by the regulator are the DVB-T2, which replaced the initial DVB-T1 boxes that were being sold on the market. A DVB-T2 set-top box cost between Ksh5, 000 and Ksh10, 000 while a TV set with in-built digital signal convertors retails between Ksh250, 000 and Ksh300, 000. The price has however been falling and is expected to drop further as the deadline nears. Analysts say that over and above competition between sellers of the gadgets, a deliberate government policy on tax was also to the drop in prices.

CCK Director General Francis Wangusi.

The Media Observer


Legal and cost implication of the


Is having access to free television broadcast a basic human right or a luxury? The State could spend Sh6 billion to help poor access digital TV, writes MEDIA COUNCIL STAFF WRITER.


he answer to this question will determine whether the Government will spend up to Sh6 billion to supply an estimated 2 million households with free converter boxes to facilitate the long-awaited migration to digital television programming from the current analogue broadcasts. It is an issue that other countries in Europe, the United States, Japan and South Africa have grappled with as well. Different countries have taken varying stances on the matter, but what has remained constant is the heavy government involvement in the digital migration process. In Kenya, the possibility of switching off millions of TV viewers before


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the end of the year has alarmed the public, Government officials and politicians. Providing free converter boxes has also caused controversy, as critics argue that it will be just another opportunity to line the pockets of corrupt government officials and well connected individuals. “Our thinking was that we could fund the set top boxes (STB) just like all other countries that have migrated. Unfortunately, even before media understood the rationale, they are opposed to the idea. We go back to the drawing board to see how we advance the migration process,” said the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communications, Dr Bitange Ndemo, in an interview.

supply of boxes) outweigh the costs. We must find a way of facilitating migration the way other countries have done it. It is baseless to pretend that everybody will buy and migrate.” The sellers who are currently offering the lowest cost converter boxes are doing so with a rider that buyers have to pay a monthly fee to watch packages of premium TV channels. That has proved widely unpopular, as majority of Kenyan households are not used to subscription TV.

The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) headquarters in Nairobi. What is putting this plan in doubt is the fact that most Kenyan television sets are designed to only receive analogue broadcast signals. TV owners will be required to either buy digital television sets, or to acquire special digital converter boxes to continue viewing television after the national switch to digital migration. A digital TV set costs upwards of Sh100,000, and is therefore beyond the reach of the majority of Kenyan households. A digital converter box, on the other hand, costs between Sh2,000 and Sh10,000. The amount could be generally seen to be within the affordability limits of a majority of Kenyan households that already own TV sets, but certainly not to all. The digital migration process has therefore thrown up the possibility that a section of Kenyans will be plunged into an information blackout come the national migration date. The US, which was among the first countries to adopt the technology, set aside billions of dollars to fund both acquisition of the technology needed to migrate broadcasters, as well as help poor households to acquire the digital set top boxes. Households were given vouchers to redeem the gadgets, whose production cost was also subsidized by the state. Japan applied tax incentives and interest-free or low-interest loans to ease transition for broadcasters. South Korea’s government funded universities to develop digital broadcast research centers.

Other governments made it cheaper to acquire the set top boxes by discounting rates on digital audiovisual licenses and exempting the equipment from taxation. Critics have argued that a subsidy program in Kenya would be riddled with corruption, and is complicated by the lack of a reliable database on the identity of households that own television sets. The government is however concerned that the controversies will leave out a substantial section of the population in an information blackout, or worse still stall the migration process. Dr Ndemo says demanding that households buy set top boxes at market rates is a sure way of delaying the digital migration. “It has not worked even in rich countries. The benefits (of subsidising

The government has moved to reassure consumers that set top boxes that are built to exclusively receive free-to-air channels will be available in the market. What appears to be the biggest sticking point, however, is the argument that the government has an obligation to facilitate access to free-to-air TV. Dr Ndemo thinks it does. “Free-to-air is a Universal Service Obligation. ITU will not allow building of a subscription platform only,” says the Communications PS. One important issue that is being left in the debate is the benefit of job creation that is set to come with digital broadcasting. Unlike the current system where media owners own broadcasting equipment and also source for broadcast content, digital transmission will be done by one central organisation and broadcasters will only require licenses to air programmes.

The Government will need to spend heavily in order to supply households, including those in informal settlements, with free converter boxes to facilitate the migration to digital broadcasting. The Media Observer


Current status of the digital migration, challenges & opportunities By CCK Staff


enya is among countries at the forefront in implementing migration from analogue to digital TV broadcasting. Having set a national target of achieving migration by 2013 we set ourselves an ambitious target, two years ahead of the July 2015 global target set at the ITU Regional Radio Conference (RRC 06) held in Geneva in 2006. Digital migration started when President Mwai Kibaki switched on the DVB-T1 signal on 9th December 2009. A year later however in December 2010, the digital migration technology was upgraded to DVB-T2. 36

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Kenya was an early adopter, ahead of many countries in the region that are using the DVB-T standard and which will have to go through another expensive process of replacing the DVB-T set top box with DVB-T2 compliant one in the near future. Since our adoption of the DVB-T2 standard, many African countries have since chosen to follow suit. The plans to roll out DVB-T2 network countrywide was held back as KBC, that was licensed as a Public Signal Distributor, was unable to implement the project plans due to financial constraints occasioned by emergencies such as famine relief and also

implementation of the Constitution among others, hence its delays by government to disburse sufficient financial support on time. However since February 2012, the KBC/SIGNET signal has been up and running in Nairobi and its environs. KBC’s slow implementation prompted the government to license a second Private Signal Distributor in October last year. The licence was awarded to Pan African Network Group (K) Co Ltd after a competitive tendering process.

Digital migration platform Kenya adopted the DVB-T1 MPEG 4 platform for the digital migration

vices on PCs, laptops, car receivers and a whole new range of innovative receiving devices. The new, improved DVB-T2 standard features include; better quality picture and sound information; more programme channels in one TV frequency than DVB-T; larger coverage area by a single TV transmitting station; flexibility to simultaneously accommodate high definition and standard definition channels, mobile TV and digital audio.

DVB-T2 signal infrastructure rollout and consumer awareness campaign The two signal distributors are currently rolling out DVB-T2 infrastructure. Already, the signal is up and running in Nairobi and covers Kiambu, Thika, Lower Murang’a, Kangundo, Lower Machakos, and Kajiado. At the Coast the BSD are transmitting to Mazeras, Mombasa City, Mariakani, Kaloleni, Mtwapa, Kilifi, Msambweni and Kwale while from Kisumu, there is signal coverage in Kisumu city, Vihiga, Emuhaya, parts Butere-Mumias, Yala, Awasi, Ahero, Maseno, Luanda, Muhoroni, parts of Nandi and parts of Bondo. on its launch in 2009 during the pilot phase but a decision was made to adopt the more superior second generation standard DVB-T2 MPEG 4 in December 2010 so that going forward, Kenyans could benefit from the enhanced technology. So we are in simulcast period during which both the analogue and digital signals are on air. DVB-T1 was switched off on Saturday 8th September 2012 in the pave way for an all DVB-T2 digital future after analogue transmissions are similarly switched off. The DVB-T2 is an upgrade of DVB-T technology. The conversion from Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial (DVBT) to the second generation technology DVB-T2, was the result of a policy shift adopted late last year in consultation with all stakeholders. MPEG-4 compression is currently the world’s most advanced digital terrestrial transmission system with higher efficiency, robustness and flexibility and will, therefore, take Kenya to the next level in digital broadcasting. The advanced technology will enable the roll out of the multiplexes as well as enable access of broadcasting ser-

The signal distributors project that by December 2012, they will have covered 80% of the population. The Consumer awareness campaign on migration to digital broadcasting was launched on 8th June 2012. Currently, billboards can be seen on highways; there are street posters; there are screens in supermarkets; adverts in the print media and commercials on radio and television. A major 7-day Roadshow is to be flagged off tomorrow 7th September 2012 from Uhuru Park to cover Nairobi and its environs. The road show will create a platform for the closer interactions with members of the public and to answer any questions on the migration process.

Type approval of DVB-T2 compliant set top boxes Meanwhile, CCK has continued to issue type approvals for DVB-T2 compliant set top boxes to interested vendors some of who are already selling them in Nairobi to consumers to be able then to migrate their analogue TVs to digital. The set top boxes have

only recently become available in the local market. They are approved by CCK to avoid counterfeit products sneaking into the market since they must comply with the set minimum technical specifications. Despite the earlier hiccups, Digital transition in Kenya is way ahead of many other countries in Africa. The setback has been the slow pace in signal rollout but this has been overcome. The other setback has been unavailability of a large variety of STBs from which consumers can choose. Currently there exists 4 models, two PAY TV STBs (StarTimes which is being launched today) and GOtv and two free to air STBs (Gospel and Microville). This is likely to be overcome by the recent waiver of import duty on STB and type approval of more investors in the business that are likely to flood the market with affordable and compliant STBs.

Of Pay TV and free view The public should understand that digital migration DOES NOT MEAN paying monthly fees to watch TV. Consumers who may not want to subscribe to pay TV have the option of waiting to choose from any of the many imports of free to air STBs that will soon arrive and be type approved. The future is bright. Consumers must excise care when purchasing set top boxes to avoid being duped by unscrupulous vendors out there to make quick buck. They should satisfy themselves that the set top box they are buying are DVB-T2, MPEG 4 compliant and NOT DVB-T1. In addition, vendors are likely to dupe unsuspecting consumers that a modern TVs (flat screen, LED, plasma, high Definition, etc) are digital ready. This is not true. A digital ready TV for Kenya is one that has integrated DVB-T2 tuner and whose compression format is MPEG4. Anything short of this will still require a set top box for one to receive digital signal. Consumers should always ensure they source products that are type approved and also from vendors who have the necessary type approval from CCK (they must demand to be shown the type approval certificate.) If in doubt they should contact CCK or Digital Kenya for confirmation before buying the product.

The Media Observer


Kenya’s down memory lane on television


The switch to digital signal transmission will immensely revolutionalize broadcasting. As KENNEDY SHIVAIRO reports, many will have to grapple with the new development


The Media Observer

resently, TV and radio signals are broadcast using analogue equipment, which requires a large amount of bandwidth to transmit picture and sound information. Bandwidth can be compared to lines, contours or tracks on the roads and the more the lines, the greater the number of vehicles on the highway. Analogue signals use a lot of bandwidth, limiting the amount of signal that can get through at any one time, just like a big truck, wagon or lorry. Digital signals, on the other hand, require much less bandwidth - up to 9 times as much digital information can be carried in the same bandwidth! It results into a brighter, sharper picture and much better sound quality; like the difference between an old video cassette and a DVD.

ing of television in digital format. Currently, terrestrial television in Kenya is broadcast in analogue format. Terrestrial denotes television broadcast using equipment situated on the ground rather than by satellite. The broadcast signal is sent to various towers on the ground and if you are within the area covered by a tower, you will receive the broadcast services via a terrestrial aerial which is usually placed on your roof or on your television set.

Digital broadcasting will help realize utilization and exploitation of digital rather than analogue waveforms to carry broadcasts over assigned radio frequency bands. Sound and pictures are processed electronically and converted into digital format. Digital Terrestrial Television is the earthbound or telluric broadcast-

On the burning issue of if one has to buy new sets or any accompaniments, you will realize that most current analogue television sets will be able to receive DTT using a set-top box. Your TV must have audio and video inputs (A/V), or alternatively have RF input, to ensure that your set-top box can be plugged into your

In analogue, the signal is transmitted using electromagnetic waves, which is not very efficient. In digital the signal is encoded and can be compressed to allow for more channels to be broadcast. At least eight (8) new channels can be provided in the same frequency as one analogue channel.

related with broadcasting. Julius Rutoh an IT expert in the counties is asking broadcasters to contribute by airing the campaigns regularly. Others are demanding that imported equipment for digital broadcasting be zero-rated to lessen the tax burden and that ,implementation strategy must specifically target the vulnerable groups, people with disabilities and the poor to ensure they are included in the digital migration.

Mombasa town: Digital broadcasting will provide quality sound and pictures across the country. TV. If you have this, you should be able to use your current TV set. You do not need a high definition (HD) TV, LCD TV or Plasma TV to receive DTT. In the next few years, there could also be TV sets with an integrated set-top box (that means a set-top box already built in with the TV). These are usually called idTVs. Digital broadcasting means more valuable spectrum, variety or range can be released and used for other services. The rest of the world is migrating to digital broadcasting and analogue broadcasting will not be protected from interference after 2015. Kenya plans to migrate in totality by the end of this year. This system of transmission ensures that, consumers enjoy improved reception quality, a variety of enhanced broadcasting applications, multimedia data and entertainment services, additional programme channels all this capped with more efficient use of the spectrum in the country. Market players will also reap the benefits from the reduced transmission costs and superior technology in their operations. Digital broadcasting presents an added opportunity for Kenya viewers to have avenues through which their own stories, concerns and lifestyles are reflected. Local content development will be a core part of the migration strategy. Lower transmission costs per broadcaster, better efficiency in spectrum management, lower set up costs for new broadcasters, reduced environmental impact, lower costs to the consumer in receiving equipment,

uniform coverage of the broadcast signal and less signal interference, are some of the advantages to the consumer. You need a device which decodes the digital signal received via a standard aerial antenna and supplies the TV set with a video signal. Without the set-top box you will be unable to display the digital television. Frequency spectrum is a scarce public resource whose assignment/allocation neither confers ownership nor a continued right to a particular radio frequency. Since digital technology makes it possible for one frequency channel to accommodate more than one programming channel, it is in public interest to ensure that the radio spectrum is used efficiently by sharing frequencies. In the case of digital broadcasting this is achieved by creating separate market segments for signal distribution providers and content service providers. In this regard, an investor does not have to be assigned a frequency or develop infrastructure before becoming a broadcaster. It is envisaged that the broadcaster of the future will concentrate only on content as the broadcasting infrastructure will be in place. BUT so far so good for the broadcaster-the public is not aware of digital migration. It is like anew party. Most of those we interviewed in the counties of Kericho and Bomet are of the view that the Government should provide finance and other resources for consumer campaign and education which should be channeled through bodies which are directly

Maendeleo Chepkwony, a farmer, believes that policies that discourage dumping cheap and poor quality technologies and equipment must be put in place concurrently with the information campaigns. He said the consumer campaign must include issues of equipment that can be retained for use. Measures be instituted to curtail the importation of obsolete equipment into the country and development of a migration strategy should include a waste management and environmental safety plan according to many who also believe that retailers will be required to have a switchover logo or any other mechanism that can be used as a certification mark. This will give consumers the assurance and confidence in purchasing receivers, antennae, and other equipment necessary to receive over-theair signals. The government advises that one should not wait until later dates to switch to digital TV. If you are in an area that is currently covered by the digital signal (like Nairobi and its environs), all you need is to purchase a DVB-T2 MPEG 4 set top box which you will connect to your existing analogue TV. We should also know that analogue and digital television differ in the way the information carried from the source to the receiver. In simple terms, in analogue broadcasting the signal is in the form of a continuous wave, whereas digital is in the form of discrete bits of information. In digital, the signal is encoded and can be compressed to allow for more channels to be broadcast. For instance eight (8) new standard definition TV (SDTV) programmes can be provided in the same.

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Franklin Bett,

Minister for Roads and MP, Bureti Constituency in Kericho County

“Digital migration, though such a big word, should be simplified to moving from line transmission to satellite transmission so that we can all access global information. I will compare this to the mobile phone which came into public usage in 2000 and now everybody possesses one. In 2000, nobody was willing to buy a mobile phone but by the end of 2005 it became a necessity, hence a requirement You cannot tell me that you will use the same antennae to receive satellite signal. There will be a different reception equipment required which the ministry could make accessible to the public”.


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Sammy Kirui,

Senior Administration Officer at James Finlay Company Limited Kenya “Digital migration can be compared to travelling in the air as compared to the road which is faster and clearer in that there are no potholes in the air. Road conveyance here, being analogue which I call AM broadcasting as per my little knowledge about media. What I can say is that many people do not grasp what digital migration is. They believe that it is some foreign idea that has been introduced to milk more money from the public. The Ministry of Information has a duty to educate the populace on this terminology in simple, language which can easily be understood by a standard one pupil”.

Francis Atwoli,

COTU Secretary General “Digital migration will simply imply changing of TV and radio signal to topical or modern way of transmitting following global changes affecting the world due to the discovery of satellite and computers which have revolutionized everything. What we have to note is that with changes new gadgets are required to access the services hence the need for decoders. Kenyans have to be informed by the government what is digital migration so that it should not be seen as an impossibility that can only be accessed by the rich”.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta

Lodges Complaint at the Media Council saying that the newspaper and the writer failed to exercise decency and integrity in publishing the article in breach of Article 3 (Integrity) of the Code. Further, the complainant said the newspaper and the writer engaged in activities that compromise the integrity or independence of journalism in breach of Article 2 (Independence) of the Code. He had also complained that the said article was published in a manner likely to inflame passions, aggravate the tensions or lead to strained relations among the communities involved in breach of Article 11 (c) on Covering Ethnic, Religious and Sectarian Conflict of the Code.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta [right] and his lawyer Desterio Oyatsi when he filed a complaint at the Media Council of Kenya. By Jerry Abuga


he Media Council of Kenya’s Complaints Commission continued to attract Kenyans across the board. In September, the Commission presided over an arbitration case between Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, the Star Newspaper and its columnist Jerry Okungu. Hon. Kenyatta had complained to the Council that an article titled “What if Uhuru, Ruto Win” authored by Mr Okungu in the Star Newspaper was offensive, biased and in breach of section 35 (1) of the Media Act Cap 411B and article 1 (a) on Accuracy and Fairness of the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism. He had complained that the newspaper and the writer failed to maintain the Code of Conduct in and n breach of Section 35(2) of the Act. In the article that appeared in

February 2012 issue of the Star, Mr Okungu had written that:

“the rest of the world (if Uhuru and Ruto are elected) will be stunned because their trial for crimes against humanity will probably be in progress unless their appeal against confirmation hearings succeed. Their elections will remind the world of populist Adolf Hitler of Germany in the early 1930s when he won the German elections in a landslide.” Mr Kenyatta complained that the article was provocative and alarming,

At the hearing, the Complaints Commission rejected Mr Kenyatta’s bid to add four articles in the Star to the original complaint involving a column by Jerry Okungu in February. Mr Kenyatta’s lawyer Desterio Oyatsi listed the four articles as: • ‘Uhuru and the Star: He’s got a problem’ written by Karen Rothmeyer and published on the 31st of May 2012’ • ‘Uhuru wants Raila joined in integrity case’ written by Nzau Musau and published on the 2nd of August 2012 • ‘Campaign mooted to kick out CJ’ written by Walter Menya and published in the Saturday / Sunday Star issue of 11-12 August 2012. • ‘Conservation project may have caused Tana Massacre’ written by Alphonce Gari and published on 29th of August 2012 Mr Kenyatta had also wanted the individual journalists behind the four articles summoned to reveal their sources. But the Commissioners ruled they will stick to the original complaint against the article written by Mr Okungu. The Media Observer



on digital television By Media Council of Kenya Writer

Q: What is a Set Top Box (STB)? A:

Q: Why is Kenya migrating from Analogue to Digital? A:

This is a global requirement set by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The main reason for the world’s migration to digital is to release valuable spectrum which can be used for other services. Spectrum is scarce; therefore more efficient use is necessary if more terrestrial telecommunications and broadcasting services are to be made available. Currently, analogue broadcasting is protected from interference by ITU, but this protection will stop by 2015. It is therefore necessary for all countries to complete the migration from analogue to digital by 2015. Kenya has set own deadline of 2013, ahead of the 2015 global deadline. According to Ministry of Information Permanent Secretary, Bitange Ndemo, the digital signal is now available in all the major towns in Kenya and is expected to be available in all parts, at least 80 per cent coverage, by the end of 2013. 42

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A Set Top Box is a receiver that will decode the digital signal to enable the channels be displayed on your analogue television set. This Set Top Box will plug directly into your TV set. Kenya adopted use of DVBT2, an advanced set-top-box from the earlier DVBT. DVBT2 creates more capacity to handle both Simple and High Definition (SD &HD) display. Most of the new content comes in High Definition (HD). While in DVBT you get between 12 and 18 SD channels, you can only create one HD and this will not solve the spectrum deficit problem that we currently have. On the other hand, with DVBT2 you get up to 30 SD channels and up to 4 HD with additional number of SD channels. The sound quality and clarity is higher with DVBT2. In the 2012/2013 national budget, Kenya waived import tax on the set-top boxes. This means the gadgets should cost less with time. On average the gadgets costs between Sh2,500 and Sh10,000 depending on their capability and make.

Q: Why Do I Need a Set Top Box?


The analogue TVs cannot receive digital signals thus there must be a gadget that converts digital signals back to analogue format, decodable by your analogue TV set. You need the device that decodes the digital signal received via a standard aerial antenna and supplies the TV set with a video signal. Without the Set Top Box you will be unable to view the digital television services on your television set. Analogue TV sets equipped with a set-top-box box will display the digital broadcasts, but not in full digital quality. This converter box, much like your cable box, will allow you to receive a picture, but it won’t be able to show high-definition pictures or give you access to other digital services unless the provider preinstalls such a capability.

Q: Will the Digital Transition Affect TV Sets That Are Connected to Cable Services?


No. If you subscribe to cable service (like DStv), the transition will not affect you. The DTV transition applies only to full-power broadcast television stations -- stations that use the public airwaves to transmit their programming to viewers through a broadcast antenna.


After the migration to digital broadcasting, can I Still Use My Old Analogue TV Set? How?


Yes. After the switch over is completed, your analogue TV set is not obsolete. However to ensure continued use of your analogue set, you must do one of the following: Use a digital-to-analogue converter box commonly known as a set-topbox. Connect to a subscription service such as cable or satellite TV. For the Kenyan case this may include services from DStv, GOtv and SmartTV.

Q: After the migration to

digital broadcasting, can I Still Use My Old Analogue TV Set with other analogue gadgets like a Video player?


Your analogue TV set should continue to work with VCRs, DVD players, gaming consoles and similar products that you use now.

Q: How Do I Improve DTV Signal Strength?


Your DTV reception can be affected by terrain, trees, buildings, the weather, damaged equipment, as well as antenna type, location, and orientation. It can be improved just by changing the location of the antenna you’re using now. Moving your antenna away from other objects and structures, or placing it higher, can often improve reception. The performance of outdoor antennas can degrade over time due to exposure to the weather. Also, you may consider installing a signal booster, which should improve reception.

Q: Can DTV Reception be affected by Moving Vehicles and Weather?


Your DTV reception can be affected by nearby moving vehicles, such as cars, trucks, trains and airplanes. In some instances, shadowing or reflections from these vehicles may cause your digital picture to temporarily break-up or even disappear completely. If this occurs, you should try moving or reorienting your antenna to find a position that provides the most reliable reception. If you are using an indoor antenna, switching to an outdoor antenna system which may include a directional antenna or rotor could improve reception. In severe cases it may not be possible to completely eliminate the effect of nearby traffic. If reception remains unsatisfactory due to these disruptions, viewers may wish to consider alternatives such as cable or satellite service.

Your DTV reception can also be affected by severe weather conditions such as storms and high winds. These reception issues can result from fluctuations in the broadcast signal that can be caused, for example, by moving leaves and branches on trees. You can minimize the effects of high winds or storms by re-orienting your antenna to obtain the strongest available signal. If this does not work, a better indoor antenna or an outdoor antenna may help. In addition, make sure that outdoor antenna mounts are secure to minimize any movement caused by the wind. If you lose reception of a particular channel during severe weather conditions try tuning to other channels that remain available.

Q: Can I Use My UHF/VHF Antenna to Receive DTV?


Yes. Television stations broadcasting in digital use both the VHF (channels 2-13) and UHF (channels 14-51) bands. Many indoor antennas use “rabbit ears” for the VHF band and a “loop” or “bowtie” antenna for the UHF band. Make sure you are using an antenna that covers both the VHF and UHF bands and have connected it properly. Many antennas currently being sold as “HDTV Antennas,” perform best at receiving UHF signals; some of these models state that they provide reception of signals on channels 7-13 but actually perform less well receiving those channels. When acquiring a new antenna, be sure to talk to retail consultants and look at information on the packaging and/or the Internet to make sure that any new antenna you may choose provides good reception of both VHF and UHF channels. In addition, if you use an indoor antenna and receive signals on VHF channels, you may need to use an antenna with amplification.

[Additional report compiled from International Telecommunication literature]

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‘New Media’

Business Models for Commercial Print Media in Internet era in Kenya By Haron Mwangi


n August 2009, Rupert Murdoch, after steady financial losses in his global media empire, reaffirmed his new business strategic intention. To introduce charges for all his news websites such as Times, The Sun and the News of the world all in Britain and arguing that, “quality journalism is not cheap……the digital revolution has opened many new inexpensive distribution channels but it has not made content” Clark, Andrew 2009. Three years down the line, many of his publications have fully gone online stopping production of hard copies. The media mogul was reacting to well-documented business challenge where newspapers across the world, are battered and beleaguered, laying off staff, going out of business in a rate never imagined before. This trend will be catching up with us and it is important to prepare for it. In the US for example, 2008 was a bad year for newspaper publishers with shares dropping 83 percent on average. While one could tie this to the global recession, indication in 2011 was that other sectors are steadily riding out of the storm with no improvement in the print industry. No paper, even the most respected newsprint brand were immune to this malaise including Washington Post, New York Times and News Corp. Across the Atlantic, in early September 2008 the Guardian Media Group was actively considering closing down The Observer, the world’s oldest Sunday Newspaper. So, besides recession, there was fall in advertisement revenue. The advertisement revenue is declining steadily, and the market is now cannibalized by many media outlets including new media, the cost of printing, distribution and related operational expenses have gone up steadily.

What are the successful media models? Who will succeed in digitalized and converged media environment? So far, there is hardly any online editorial entities that have generated revenue to truly be termed successful. Can it be achieved in the long run? Unlike the traditional print media, the online space has lower cost base and is therefore easy to set up. The challenge is hyper-competition and beyond the local 44

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offering to include international offerings. There are many entrants with many online publications targeting the same market niches with the print media. Most of these are user generated content, blogs and conversations based on the online form of print media. To be competitive therefore creativity, combination of media text such as video content, podcast, interactive aspects of the web are part of the strategy. One has to take care for the customer need of immediate online conversation. The biggest challenge is that many online investors are fascinated with technology and are not paying much attention to content and readers’ needs. However, there is a much bigger problem. The problem of advertisement model. Online media cannot generate equivalent revenue anywhere near the print media. In Kenya, however, we are seeing increased advertising spending going online particularly to low-cost bloggers and those able to maintain low costs in online content production Online media could also increase their revenue by charging for content through micro-payment and monthly subscription and by setting online payment gateway. The Daily Mail & Guardian Online and Dispatch online of South Africa are growing their revenue base through this this strategy. But there are aware that the content must be unique. There is torrent of information out there and completion is fierce. To remain competitive, the media has to invest heavily in online editorial skills, change the traditional media mindset and establish relationship with other online distribution outlets to market their products and cut a niche in the market. With over 10 million Internet users in Kenya, how do we respond to the growing Internet-based news culture? Are we doing away with the army of reporters and photographers newspapers have traditionally employed? How quick can this become a reality? We examine some of the new business models, intervention to maximize on profit and cut cost associated with the new technology in our next issue. For now, it suffices to increase the level of professional editorial intervention of the online version of print media. This could steadily increase revenue. Increasing the budget of online media and enhance investigative reporting, which will eventually translate into online revenue.

Complaints Procedure What Constitutes a Complaint? •

Breach of the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism set out in the Act for example for example fairness and accuracy, taste and tone in the publication or non-publication of a news-item or statements

Freedom of the press being threatened or encroached upon through denial of facilities that helps in collection or dissemination of news or through threats, harassment or assault.

Complaints Procedure Any person aggrieved by: - Any publication including online publications, or any conduct of a journalist, media enterprise or the Council; or Anything done against a journalist or media enterprise that limits or interferes with the constitutional freedom of expression of such journalist or media enterprise, may make a written complaint to the Council setting out the grounds for the complaint, nature of the injury or damage suffered and the remedy sought. Below are the procedures a complaint takes: 1. One may make a written complaint to the Council setting out the grounds for the complaint, nature of the injury or damage suffered and the remedy sought. 2. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Council shall within 14 days from the date of receipt of the complaint, refer the complaint to the Complaints Commission for assessment to determine whether it is within the Commission’s jurisdiction. 3. The Commission may reject a complaint if it does not fall within the mandate of the Commission. 4. Upon satisfaction that the complaint is within the commission’s jurisdiction, the Commission shall notify, in writing, the party against whom a complaint has been made, within fourteen days of receipt thereof, stating the nature of the complaint, the breach, act or omission in question.

5. The person complained against (Respondent) is to reply within 14 days from date of notification. 6. The Secretariat shall, within 7 days of receipt of the response from the respondent, send the same to the complainant. 7. If the dispute is not resolved the Commission can either set up conciliation or mediation panel consisting of not less than three commissioners to hear the matter. 8. If the above panels fails to resolve the dispute which the Commission will form an Arbitration panel to hear the dispute.

Remedies The Commission may: • Dismiss such complaint; • Order an offending party to publish an apology and correction in such manner as the Council may specify; • Issue a public reprimand of the journalist or media enterprise involved; • Recommend to the Council suspension or removal from the register of the journalist involved; • Order return, repair, or replacement of any equipment; • Make any directive and declaration on freedom of expression; • Give any other order or directive as it deems necessary. The Commission shall communicate its decision to the parties concerned within 14 days from the time the decision is made.

Appeal A person can appeal to the Council against a decision of the Commission within 14 days from the date of the decision. If a person is not satisfied with the decision of the Council, they can appeal to the High Court within 21 days. Further information can be obtained from our website

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In accordance to sections 4(k), 13(2), 19(1) and 36 of the Media Act 2007, the Media Council of Kenya undertakes Annual Accreditation of journalists practicing in Kenya. • One of its main aims is to improve professionalism among journalists as it ensures that all accredited journalists have the right skills to carry out their duties in a professional manner as accorded to by the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya. •

It also fulfils the Council’s mandate to compile and maintain a register of journalists, media practitioners, media enterprises and such other related registers.

Benefits of Accreditation 1. Helps in professionalisation in journalism. 2. It helps journalists to access information by allowing participation in conferences, workshops, trainings and other gatherings. 3. It enhances the protection of the rights and privileges of journalists in the performance of their duties.

Requirements for Accreditation 1. A letter from the employer 2. Freelance journalists are required to produce a letter of reference from the organisation they correspond for, a portfolio of work done and proof of professional training. 3. A clear passport photograph taken on a white background. 4. An accreditation fee of Ksh 2,000 for practising journalists and Ksh 300 for students.


The Media Observer

Media monitoring to promote press freedom & responsible journalism

The Media Observer


Promoting press freedom & responsible journalism


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The Media Observer July-October 2013  

The July-October issue of the Media Observer magazine examines the IMPACT of digital switch in Kenya.

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