The Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) has fined Homeboyz Radio Sh1 million over gender insensitive remarks made by three of its presenters last Wednesday.
Shaffie Weru, Joseph Munoru and Neville Muasya, who have since been fired by the Radio Africa-owned station, were accused of shaming a victim of sexual violence during the Lift Off morning show.
The woman identified as Eunice Wangare is alleged to have been thrown off the 12th floor of a building by Moses Gatama Njoroge, a man she met on Facebook, after rejecting his sexual advances.
Addressing members of the press on Sunday morning CA Director General Mercy Wanjau condemned the utterances further imposing a six-month suspension on the ‘offending’ show until ‘the station demonstrates compliance with all statutory and regulatory requirements.
The DG directed that the station’s staff undergo training and sensitization on gender issues.
“This training should be certified and supervised by the national gender and equality commission and evidence of compliance filed with the authority, ” said Ms Wanjau.
She also directed that the staff of the station undergo training on programming code by the authority.
The station was ordered to publish a public apology in two newspapers with nationwide circulation and air the same apology on the station during prime time for the next five days.
Ms Wanjau directed the station to review its editorial policy to align it with the requirements of the law on gender.
The station was also directed to ensure its presenters are accredited by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) and file evidence of compliance with the authority.
“The authority upholds the principle of gender inclusivity and respect for diversity. Broadcasters are urged to exercise great responsibility when undertaking their work and to avoid incidences of gender stereotyping fostering misogyny and perpetration of negative narratives against women and men,” added Ms Wanjau.
“The programming code pronounces itself in great detail in acknowledgment of the powerful and very important role that is played by broadcasters in Kenya in disseminating information, shaping opinion and also as a platform for celebrating our diversity as a people and as a nation.”
Homeboyz Radio terminated the contracts of the three presenters on Saturday saying the management was ‘deeply disappointed in their conduct’.
“The termination follows a comprehensive review of the comments made on the station on Thursday morning and their subsequent suspension from employment. Our partners and listeners will not be surprised by the termination as it is the right thing to do,” the employer said in a statement.
“The comments of said erstwhile employees were neither authorized, approved nor cleared with the company nor was the subject discussed and or authorized by the company’s senior leadership. We are deeply disappointed in their conduct.”
MCK CEO David Omwoyo applauded the station for the move terming it a sign of “commitment to uphold ethical standards in their programming”.
“The Council takes note of the action taken by the management of the radio station, against the individuals and commends them for taking responsibility,” the CEO said on Sunday.
“This is as a sign of commitment, to uphold ethical standards in their programming. Consequently, the Council will be keen on following up on such matters to enforce compliance as per the Media Council Act 2013.”
Yesterday, East African Breweries Limited (EABL) said it was pausing advertising on programs associated with the Homeboyz Radio presenters in support of investigations into the disparaging remarks, threatening the media station’s revenue stream.