By Winfridah Muthee
The fourth edition of the Communications Authority annual KUZA Awards that recognize and fete broadcasters who demonstrate excellence in their broadcasts in line with the ICT law provisions was unveiled today.
The CA also formally kicked off the People’s Choice SMS voting platform in which audiences have a say on their preferred broadcaster.
This would have been the fifth edition of the awards since 2017 but last year, it was pushed forward following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which still festers on, a year later.
This initiative is being executed in partnership with the Kenya Film Commission (KFC).
The theme of the 2021 Kuza Awards is “Preserving our Cultural Heritage Through Broadcasting – Kenya a Heritage of Splendor”. Through this theme, the Authority and the industry will acknowledge broadcasters who promote patriotism, uphold Kenyan culture, beliefs and values as well as those who have made a contribution towards national unity and cohesion.
Towards this end, the Authority has introduced three new award categories this year.
Multimedia Services Department acting Director Alfred Ambani outlined that the first one is the Patriotic Award category, to celebrate all broadcasters who have demonstrated patriotism and made a positive impact in disseminating information and implementing the Authority and Government’s directives on the raging COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Upcoming Broadcaster Award, on the other hand will celebrate new broadcasters that have, through their programing, displayed compliance and adherence to regulatory requirements within the last three years. And thirdly the Copyright Award is meant to Enhance broadcasters’ compliance with copyright and Intellectual Property regulatory requirements.
“We wish to remind broadcasters are required to adhere to all copyright obligations as provided for in their license conditions and ensure adherence to any other laws as they carry out their services and broadcasters who do not meet their copyright obligations in accordance with the license conditions will not be issued with an annual compliance Certificate starting this financial year making it difficult to do business with Government entities”. Said Mercy Wanjau, the Authority’s Acting Director General.
Broadcasting remains a powerful medium for influencing culture and that’s why It is desirable that it should reflect the national values, culture, aspirations, hopes and dream of Kenyans and promote national unity and cohesion Mrs. Mercy Wanjau,acting Director General Communications Authority of Kenya offered.
She added that Radio and TV play a significant role in portraying and influencing the culture of a nation and it is therefore essential that our differences and diversity are celebrated and showcased as something to be proud of. The Authority recognizes the vital role of media in preserving our cultural heritage for current and future generations.
In this regard, the Authority has prescribed a minimum of40% local content quota to ensure that broadcasting services contribute to Kenya’s social and cultural perspectives including promoting the use of vernacular language in broadcasting.
Like the previous awards, the 2021 Kuza Awards will continue to promote consumer feedback and audience participation in recognizing broadcasters who have demonstrated excellence in their broadcasts.
Through the People’s Choice Awards, audiences will have an opportunity to participate and vote for their preferred station via the toll free mobile SMS survey short code 15601.
The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined broadcasting as an essential service that should be accessible to all.
Research has showed that 95 per cent of the Kenyan population now has a high awareness about the pandemic.
CA has raised an emerging concern regarding a number of CA’s licensees (TV and radio stations) who are quickly converting themselves into betting houses without regard to the provisions of the applicable laws. CA also noted that activities related to gamming, betting and lotteries can only be conducted in Kenya with express authorization and in adherence with the guidance given by the sector regulator, the Betting Control and Licensing Board.
CA partnered with the Kenya Film Commission to support local content initiatives in the broadcast media industry which were adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is in line with the Authority’s mandate to facilitate and encourage the development of Kenyan Programmes.
The 2021 Kuza Awards will culminate in the Awards Gala scheduled for May 2021.
CA also formally declared the People’s Choice Awards SMS Voting platform officially open.
“Send the word KUZA to 15601 to begin voting, This service is free of charge”Mrs Wanjau offered.