The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) could soon adopt measures that restrict or ban betting-themed programs in media stations should recommendations in a soon-to-be-released report is adopted.
The Council notes that in as much as media house must make profit amidst the Covid- 19 global pandemic, they must do so within the confines that promote Corporate Social Responsibility governed by ethics.
In the yet to be release report, the Council noted that the recommendations might raffle a few feathers, but nevertheless, they must do what they must to regulate the current betting craze in medias houses.
MCK Chief Executive Officer, Mr. David Omwoyo, said that while the Council seeks to promote media diversity, the unorthodox ways of making money through betting, needs their intervention.
Omwoyo who spoke Tuesday during the Betting Taskforce Report Launch, held in Nairobi, noted that Betting is a serious social problem and as a Council, there is need to protect Kenyans from unscrupulous media houses, who do not practice responsible betting and gaming.
“Betting cannot be at all costs. We are aware that the media industry is among the many affected due to the pandemic and the desire to remain afloat has pushed them to make not so good comprises, but we must always uphold the reasons why we exist in the first place,” said Omwoyo.
The Chairperson of the Betting Taskforce, Immanuel Juma, reiterated sentiments made affront on the need for media houses to act responsibly despite the hard economic times, faced globally as a result of COVID 19.
“Terms and conditions of these betting shows must be explained clearly for the listeners and viewers to be able to understand what it entails to engage on such programs. We must adhere to set rules and guidelines.
KBC Managing Director, Dr. Naim Bilal, on his part reiterated support from the state-owned media house, saying that betting is a major concern worldwide and the negative effects are way too many.
“Betting undermines the youth and vulnerable as well as the ethics of hard work. Recommendations of this Report should not burden us, because they will only insist on the existing rules and regulations. prescriptions already exist,” said Bilal
He promised that as a media house that has various radio and TV stations, they will interact with the document once out and implement the recommendations made.
Once officially released, the recommendations will provide pointers and guidelines on how media houses will run programmes that involve betting as well as gaming, so as to enable and create a level playing field for all media houses.
The recommendations will also ensure that betting and gaming is conducted in a manner that is responsible and not harmful to the vulnerable.
This move comes hot comes hot in the heels of a recent announcement by the ICT House Committee that also announced that Kenya’s National Assembly, could soon adopt measures that restrict or ban gambling and betting-themed television programmes.
The potential measures are currently being considered by the Departmental Committee on Information, Communication and Innovation, in the form of amendments to the country’s planned overhaul of its gambling legislation, first proposed in 2019.
The Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB), two months ago, also set out Kenya’s guidelines for gambling advertising, permitting broadcast ads for the first time.
The rules include restrictions around broadcasting times and responsible gambling message integration.