The government has been urged to revamp the Country’s state broadcaster, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) with proper infrastructural structures to make it the lead channel in communicating government’s Big Four Agenda.
Lack of proper infrastructure as well as limited resources coupled with high debts has been largely blamed for the woes of the State broadcaster which continues to lag behind in the changing communication times, with dwindling viewership.
The State House Spokesperson, Kanze Dena on Tuesday asserted that despite the problems afflicting the public broadcaster, it must not collapse, or even play second fiddle in the hands of the fast-growing private sector.
“KBC’s unique role to communicate government agenda must be maintained albeit with a fresh approach to the changing broadcast environment,” observed Dena.
Dena highlighted examples where Government-funded broadcasters like the BBC have thrived in the face of private broadcasters, adding that KBC is capable of following in the footsteps of these established stations if empowered.
While giving her views to the David Makali led Task force on how government communication can be improved, Ms Dena stated that for government development agenda to be reported without editorial influence, KBC must be given power to adequately deliver on its mandate.
“Resources limitations are an impediment to KBC. It must be supported to be able to adequately transmit stories with the best quality,” stated Dena.
Dena stated that the private sector media more often than not choose sensational stories over development stories hence the need to strengthen the State Broadcaster.
This she said can be avoided if KBC can be properly funded to be able to have sufficient and current infrastructure to to relay government development stories real time without any hitch, just like the other main stream media.
“Government agenda must be reported well. Upgrade KBC with state of the art signal to be at par with the rest of the media. This will highly improve government communication because it has a wider coverage than the rest of the station,” recommended Dena to the task force.
Dena further recommended that the workforce within the national broadcaster should be composed of a vibrant team that is conversant with the current ongoing trends and insisted that the employees must be paid well to be retained.
Dena further recommended that government communication structures should make better use of Kenya News Agency which has Information/Communication Officers countrywide to be able to know what the ministries are doing at County level.
“I started at KNA and I know the brand. Reach out to them,” said Dena who further reiterated on the need to empower communication officers and give them the responsibilities of managing government communication at ministry level.
David Makali on his part noted that the culture in government must be informed by trust, integrity and credibility if the common mwananchi is to believe what the government is trying to communicate.
The Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) earlier in the year commissioned the Task Force to study the status of Government communication function.
The Task Force is expected, to make recommendations on how to revamp and strengthen the institutional and operational foundations of information and Public Communications functions in Government.
By Alice Gworo