Broadcasters have six months to set up a complaints handling unit and annually update the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) on the issues tackled.
Failure to adhere to the requirement attracts a Sh1 million fine and an additional 0.5 per cent of their annual revenues to the Universal Service Fund.
CA said the programming code and complaints handling procedure were developed and communicated to broadcasters last month and are part of new regulations to ensure quality content as more broadcasters are licensed.
Authority director general Francis Wangusi told the Nation that the complaints handling desk will compel broadcasters to adhere to ethical standards of journalism by sticking to set programming norms.
“The requirement for broadcasters to comply within six months takes effect from this month, we have not made any audits to know how many of them are already compliant,” said Mr Wangusi on phone on Wednesday.
Last year, CA was to conduct a study to determine offensive content by audience standards. However, with the help of the Kenya Films Classification Board, the regulator has been able to set the standards dictated by the programme code.
“The unit will also handle copyright infringement and provide remedies of withdrawal of programmes affected, it will create awareness of existence of complaints mechanism,” said the director of Multimedia at the industry watchdog Leo Boruett in an earlier interview.
The authority will use the annual complaints register and an annual audience survey to determine whether broadcasters adhere to set codes.
As television firms apply for new licenses after the expiry of the permit regime in June last year, the new regulations will take effect.
Broadcasters must also ensure that they achieve the 40 per cent local content quota within one year, and 60 per cent within four years after receipt of licence.
The regulations also dictate the time frame for advertisements.