Kenya’s TV programs too explicit for family viewing
It is 7.30 pm; I have just walked into the house from a long day’s work to find the 7pm news going for a short break then this Close Up advert comes up. My eldest daughter starts fidgeting with the remote while his brother, 13, stands to go to the washroom, may be for nature’s call but then again I look at the TV screen and I can see what is making everyone uncomfortable.
I thought I was the only one who finds the latest Close Up Tooth paste (Deep action) TV ad too close for comfort, but so do my other family members. Every time the advert comes up, everyone in the house seems to be on the edge. A quick flip to change channels and I only find it again in the other stations.
In the recent past, there has been an upsurge of Mexican soaps in the Kenyan television most of which tend to show too much especially where some characters get too cozy and raunchy. These programs start as early as 5pm when children come home from school. Then there are the contemporary secular music shows that hit the screen at around 4pm and all they show are scantily dressed women with seductive moves that make you sick in the stomach when you sit down with your children. With the coming of digital TV, came many channels with different programs that exhibit sexually explicit content. The question is what is the Kenya film board and the Communications Authority of Kenya doing about such commercials and TV programs?
Kenya Information and Communications (Consumer Protection) Regulations, 2010. Cap 265 (9) states:
(1) A licensee shall establish mechanisms that enable Parents and legal guardians to block access of children to harmful content.
2) Protection of children.
While some set boxes and stations have guidelines on parental control on the remote control gadgets, those on free to air stations cannot be controlled.
More still the regulatory Authority needed to have started sensitization programs, sort of consumer education to the public especially the illiterate and semi illiterate consumers in tandem with digitization. But as you would guess, in Kenya we do our things in an upside down way.
When did we unplug the switch on suggestive programs and reorganized the schedule of our radio and TV programs from the days of Wild Rose, The Bold and the Beautiful, Sunset Beach, The Rich also Cry and Tushauriane? Because growing up, such shows were only screened past 10pm.
Where did we drop our moral lens such that it is now okay to just sit down with the family and watch programs classified as GE (General Entertainment) which along the way turn into high voltage sexual acts and language?
You have seen them twerking on public shows where children are present. Our news is full of negative ethnic undertones and incitements from politicians but because politicians can afford to line some anchors’ pockets and irrigate their throats well, they are often given microphones even before they open their mouths! And yet the stations still claim they give family oriented programs.
When you thought our radio stations would be any better. You are wrong: you are seated in a matatu with your kid taking him/her to school on a week day and then the infamous Wakanai calls Classic Fm and starts engaging Maina Kageni and Mwalimu Kingangi on bedroom matters at 7.am. From then what follows and which you would have to endure for the next 1 hour on the road is a barrage of foul language from married and single ladies/gentlemen who claim to have done all sorts of unprintable things behind their partners or with their lovers in the bedroom!
It is good that we have made our news bulletin more interactive but compared to other international media like BBC and CNN, some Kenya television channels operate more like the American E-channel where anchors don’t sit behind news desks but on high stools or low sofa sets dressed scantily!
That’s why it is refreshing to listen and to watch citizen Tv’s NipasheWikendi with Lulu Hassan and Kanze Dena. The two bring that what should be the true general entertainment program. Theirs is homily and refreshing new anchoring. They know how to tackle family navigate various complex family matters with dexterity and civility; you cannot begrudge them on their wardrobe either for they are what befits a family