The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Director General Francis Wangusi has said that the Government has injected Ksh71 billion to fund development of community-based television broadcasting stations.
Speaking to the media at a function in Nairobi Mr Wangusi explained: “In pursuit to support production and dissemination of the broadcasters’ local content, the Government will require to avail Ksh71 billion for establishment of base stations that will provide voice and data services to the local areas. To kick off this initiative, the Government availed Ksh800 million in this year’s (2014/ 2015) budget.”
This support for establishment of local broadcasting stations has resulted from digital migration process which has led to a rise in local free to air television stations. Mr Wangusi asserted that since the digital migration, the Communications Authority had witnessed great investment and interest in digital terrestrial free to air television.
“We have received applications from young, former and current journalists who want to start community radio and television stations but lack the financial power to do so. We are exploring how we can support some of these journalists,” he said.
He further said that Communication Authority receives at least five applications for free to air broadcast licences daily, most of which are local television stations in counties or local communities. He also added that the Government will spread the Universal Service Fund (USF) to include grants to broadcasters without the ability to roll out services in sidelined communities.
Communication experts believe that the benefits of supporting community broadcasting by the Government will promote democratization for social, cultural and economic development that will provide a medium through which community members will contribute and foster civic responsibility and integration.
This unique initiative will assist persons interested in broadcast media to have access to broadcasting benefits initiated by the Government. Among other benefits of the broadcasting initiative include enhancing the diversity of programming to the public and presenting programs that are widely entertaining and informative.
Funding community broadcasters as well as editorial and management decisions will shed light on demonstrating independence in programming and support development of local arts and music. (By Christine Mutegi)