The Communications Authority of Kenya has introduced three new categories in its annual KUZA Awards 2021, as it kicked off the People’s Choice SMS voting platform that will enable audience to vote for their preferred broadcaster. The new categories include; 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. Kenyans will get a chance to vote for their favourite broadcasters in the People’s Choice Award category through the SMS short code 15601 at a date to be announced later.
The annual event seeks to recognize and reward excellence in the broadcasting industry. This year’s theme is “Preserving our Cultural Heritage through Broadcasting: Kenya a Heritage of Splendour.”
Speaking at the event, CA Acting Director General Mrs. Mercy Wanjau said broadcasting is a powerful medium for influencing culture and should reflect the national values, culture, aspirations, hopes and dreams of Kenyans. This year’s awards seek to acknowledge broadcasters who promote patriotism, uphold Kenyan culture, beliefs and values and who have made a contribution towards national unity and cohesion.
The Authority recognises the vital role of media in preserving our cultural heritage for current and future generations. In this regard, the Authority has prescribed a minimum of 40% 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, said Mrs. Wanjau.
Mrs. Wanjau also indicated that starting July this year, the Authority will only issue compliance certificate to broadcasters who meet all the licence conditions and other regulatory requirements.
‘‘One of the key elements that we shall be evaluating for eligibility for annual compliance certificate is compliance with copyright obligations in accordance with their license conditions,’’ observed Mrs. Wanjau.
She challenged the media to utilize their platform to shape positive perceptions in how the Kenyan narrative is portrayed and to leverage on the combined synergies of the industry and audiences towards the growth of a vibrant competitive and resilient broadcasting industry in Kenya.
The media were also called upon to ensure promote inclusivity through the sign language interpretation to ensure those abled differently are able to enjoy their programming. ‘‘The Authority therefore encourages broadcasters to engage qualified sign language interpreters to guarantee quality signing for audiences who may be abled differently,’’ added Mrs. Wanjau.
The 2021 Kuza Awards Gala is scheduled for June this year.