In Summary
  • This bedroom talk is popular, they counter.
  • The UK regulator’s rulebook states that “material that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of people under 18 must not be broadcast.”

When people periodically complain about the extraordinary amount of X-rated nonsense which issues from the mouths of radio presenters on Kenyan radio every morning, the defenders of these stations leap to their defence with a number of arguments.

If you don’t like it switch channels, they suggest. That line is obviously a non-starter because at least eight out of 10 Nairobians take their children to school in the morning by public transport and have no control over what radio station blares out of the speakers.

This bedroom talk is popular, they counter.

That may be true but one hardly needs to make the point that what the masses may find interesting is not always in the public interest.

Otherwise, TV stations worried about ratings would simply show pornography and rake in the millions.

Those who argue that regulation may amount to censorship make a fair point.

People have the choice to listen to what they please.

But the solution the Media Council of Kenya should adopt in dealing with this issue is fairly simple and has worked in many countries.

Simply stop the stations from airing this stuff in the morning and require them to discuss these topics after, say, 10 or 11 pm.

There are few places on earth, even in the most liberal and nominally free societies, where one is allowed to broadcast explicit content at breakfast time.

That breaches the most basic norms of decency. Ofcom, the communications regulator in the UK, for example, has a straightforward rule: All adult content must only be aired after 9 pm and, even then, it should not come immediately after that time but should be broadcast progressively later.

If there are parents who will let their children hear about the day a promiscuous man was ousted from the house by the wife and forced to sleep in the watchman’s cubicle, then that will be their choice.

Such a story, however, should not be rammed down the throats of normal, unsuspecting wananchi in the morning.

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