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The objective of this study was to examine digital television switchover in Kenya in relation to
the principles of broadcasting namely public interest, diversity, localism and competition. This
was a qualitative research study based on primary data and secondary data. Key informant
interviews and content analysis were used in data collection. Interview method was applied in
collecting primary data with convenient sampling being used to obtain a sample 18 respondents.
Semi structured interviews with open ended questions were administered face to face and a few
delivered to respondents via emails. The obtained data was classified into thematic areas in
comprehensible patterns for analysis. Descriptive research design was applied in obtaining
secondary data using content deduction from Ipsos Synovate and the Communications Authority
of Kenya websites. Gathered data was analyzed using deductive content analysis approach. The
principles of broadcasting policy namely public interest, diversity, localism and competition
constituted dependent variables whereas digital migration in Kenya was the independent variable.
Findings of the study revealed that digital migration in Kenya was in contravention of the
principle of public interest, which is the most fundamental principle of broadcasting. The study
found that digital switchover propelled the idea of investor and large sector players at the
expense of the needs of contemporary local television viewer. Although there is more local
content under digital broadcasting, the study found that production of content by locals at
community level is still minimal due to the locals’ reliance on corporate and media
conglomerates to help them produce their own content. The study further revealed that digital
migration in Kenya promoted diversity of content by enabling various communities with varying
language and cultural backgrounds to access content in their vernacular languages. This in turn
led to an increase in local content on television in compliance with the Communications
Authority of Kenya threshold of 60% local content by 2018. The study acknowledges that digital
switchover has brought forth the critical role the aforementioned principles have on the success
or failure of broadcasting policy in Kenya. This study recommends strict adherence to principles
of communication in formulation of broadcast policies.

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