Kenya: Poghisio Defends Vernacular Stations and says KBC will launch 10 by end 2010


Minister for Information Samuel Poghisho has defended the licensing of vernacular radio saying they are useful in promoting culture and languages in the country.

Poghisho said those running vernacular stations should hire qualified personnel who ensure professionalism and adhere to ethics, to avoid misuse of the stations to cause ethnic differences. He said the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation will by the end of this year launch 10 vernacular stations in the country.

Poghisho said the channels will be used to sensitize people on government issues and other development matters which promote national cohesion and unity. Poghisho was speaking during the launch of Kitwek FM at Eldoret 64 stadium in Eldoret. The station broadcasting in Kalenjin is run by KBC. "It's the content of what is aired that can be a problem. Language is not a problem because even English and Kiswahili can be misused", said Poghisho. He said KBC would launch the first digital broadcasting signal this year as Kenya moves from analogue to digital broadcasting.

The minister said migration to digital migration from analogue was an international requirement to be met by the year 2015. Poghisho said the media is aware of the changes taking place in the industry. He said each county will be able to set up its own channel for promoting development initiatives like tourism.

Poghisio said vernacular stations will act as an important tool for conserving people's culture and will also teach young people their languages. He called on KBC, by virtue of being the national broadcaster, to ensure that it has more than the 40 per cent local content as required of all media houses. KBC managing director Waithaka Waihenya said the station is the cheapest in advertising rates.