The Development of Community Broadcasting Legislation in Kenya

Authored by: Rose N. Kimani

The Routledge Companion to Local Media and Journalism

Print publication date:  April  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815375364
eBook ISBN: 9781351239943
Adobe ISBN:


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As global economic and media policies have moved in the direction of neoliberalism, Kenyan media policy has likewise evolved over time to reflect the impact of this trend. Yet, it is not solely international developments that have the final say in the shaping of legislation. Together with being a response to global influences, Kenya’s broadcast regulations are a reflection of the country’s dynamic technological, economic, social and cultural landscape, and are updated in response to country-specific developments. One of the major turning points in broadcasting legislation was the introduction in 2009 of a three-tier broadcasting system, which differentiated between public, commercial and community broadcasting. Arguably, this legislation was simultaneously a response to global trends and to local circumstances, which included the existence of a nascent community broadcasting sector. This chapter explores the evolution of Kenya’s community broadcasting legislation, linking it to changes in the social and political landscape of the country. Apart from outlining the changes that have taken place, the chapter delves into the dialogic nature of policy development, arguing that while at certain historical junctures the policy determines the operations in the field, at other times it is the existent context that determines which policies arise.

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