The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) will shortly impose rules restricting or banning betting-themed programs in media stations if suggestions in a soon-to-be-released report are implemented. The Council points out that, while media houses must earn a profit amid the Covid- 19 worldwide pandemic, they must do so within the bounds of ethical corporate social responsibility.
The Council remarked in the yet-to-be-released report that while the recommendations may ruffle a few feathers, they must do what they must to manage the current betting craze in media houses. While the MCK wants to foster media diversity, Mr David Omwoyo, the Council’s Chief Executive Officer, believes that the unorthodox ways of obtaining money through betting require their intervention.
Omwoyo, speaking at the launch of the Betting Taskforce Report in Nairobi, said that gambling is a severe social concern and that as a Council, they must safeguard Kenyans from unethical media houses that do not conduct responsible betting and gambling.
“It is not possible to bet at all costs. We recognize that the media industry is one of many affected by the pandemic and that the need to stay afloat has led them to make less-than-ideal compromises. Still, we must never forget why we exist in the first place,” Omwoyo stated.
Immanuel Juma, the Chairperson of the Betting Taskforce, highlighted the necessity for media houses to act responsibly, notwithstanding the difficult economic conditions that the world is experiencing due to COVID 19.
Dr Naim Bilal, the Managing Director of KBC, reaffirmed the state-owned media house’s support, noting that betting is a serious concern internationally with far too many harmful consequences. He vowed that as a media company with multiple radio and television stations, they would interact with the document once it was out and put the recommendations into action.
The Departmental Committee on Information, Communication, and Innovation is considering the prospective measures as changes to the country’s planned revision of its gambling regulations, which was first proposed in 2019. The Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) set out Kenya’s gambling advertising guidelines two months ago, allowing for the first-time television adverts. The guidelines include restrictions on broadcasting times and the inclusion of responsible gambling messages.