Kenyan ICT sector looks to revised ICT policy

Stakeholders in the Kenyan ICT sector converged at the KCB Leadership Centre at Karen yesterday to discuss the proposed ICT Sector Policy and Kenya Information and Communications Act (Amendment Bill).

The revision of the sector policy and law is aimed at aligning the ICT regulatory framework with the constitution. 

Article 34 of the Constitution guarantees freedom of the media and provides that the body that regulates the media should be independent of government, political and commercial interests.

The bill proposes to transform CCK to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) to reflect enhanced independence. 

The authority will have 10 board directors seven of which will be appointed for a three-year period by the president through a competitive process. The Director General of the authority shall be appointed competitively for a four-year term renewal once.  

The authority will be responsible for developing standards for broadcasting content and regulating and monitoring compliance over and above the current mandate.

The bill revises membership to the Universal Service Advisory Council (USAC) to include representatives of broadcasting, telecommunications and postal sectors as observers. This is meant to enhance transparency in the management of the Fund.

The Universal Service Fund (USF) is aimed at financing rolled out services in under-served and un-served areas. 

During times of emergency, the bill proposes government usage of ICT infrastructure for purposes of mitigating public emergencies or disasters. This bill also allows the authority to stop, delay and censor messages and broadcasts during times of emergency.  

Opening the Stakeholder Forum, ICT Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i thanked the Working Group spearheading the review of the ICT regulatory framework for a job well done. 

He urged state corporations under his Ministry to embrace the spirit of open government and to learn to engage stakeholders regularly in respect of the constitutional requirement of public participation.  

Dr. Matiang’i said his Ministry would soon unveil a cyber-security framework to ensure that ICTs are secure to play their rightful role as enablers of development. A data protection bill, he added, has been developed and would soon be tabled before parliament for enactment into law with a view to strengthening the governance regime in the ICT sector. 

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