Monday, July 16, 2007

examining the KCA bill

faced with growing criticism, the ministry of information and communication is meeting stakeholders at Safaripark hotel to get their views on the proposed bill.

here are some highlights of the bill....

One, as drafted the Bill seeks to converge all sectors of communication (broadcasting, telecommunications and information technologies/internet) under one regulatory body i.e. the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) and thus, purportedly, streamline the licensing procedures and management of frequency spectrum, through numerous fundamental amendments to an existing principal Act and other incidental laws.

At a glance, this style of law making is clumsy, without precedent in Kenya and indeed the whole Commonwealth. It is the form of law making process that will most likely convolute issues and end up with bad law. Would it not have been tidier to come up with a new law that retains all the required provisions and repeals the existing law?

Since the principal Act, the Kenya Communications Act, 1998, is merely a skeletal legislation that only establishes the CCK, provides for licensing and regulation of telecommunications services, radio communications and postal Services, it is difficult to comprehend the wisdom of using it as the building block towards a law that will incorporate all aspects of broadcasting and information technology.

Again whether having a converged regulatory regime is the most ideal situation or having separate regulatory frameworks for the various communication sectors is to be preferred is a big question and one not easy to resolve without elaborate and structured consultations with all stakeholders and consumers of information – i.e. the general population.