1 February 2013

Kenya: Council to Monitor Hate Speech On Radio Stations

The media council is monitoring 80 radio stations round the clock to ensure they operate within the confines of the law and observe the code of conduct.

Council chief executive Dr Haron Mwangi said the move is aimed at improving professionalism and collecting substantive data and performance as well as clamping down on retrogressive utterances.

He added that there were 113 free to air radio stations operating in the country but they had the capacity to monitor only 80 on a 24 hour basis every day.

Mwangi added that the council would ensure that radio stations would not be used to engage in hate speech and incite Kenyans ahead of the general elections like it did in 2007-8.

"We have already written to the owners of a vernacular radio station in Kisii which is inciting the Cord alliance supporters against those of jubilee and warned that they risk being shut down," Mwangi said.

He added that there were a lot of inflammatory utterances being aired in vernacular stations between 9;30 p.m-11;00 p.m. and the council had taken up the issue with the owners.

Mwangi added that the situation had gotten so bad that they almost shut down a radio station in Mombasa which was encouraging secession through talk shows.

He added that newspapers and television stations were also being monitored and the council will not tolerate those inciting Kenyans against each other or engaging in hate speech especially during the electioneering period.

The media boss said it was also unfortunate that some journalists had already taken sides in the forthcoming general elections in complete disregard of their work ethics and code of conduct.

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