The Complaints Commission is established under section 27 of the Media Council Act (No. 46 of 2013). It is comprised of:

  1. A Chairperson who shall be a person who holds a judicial office in Kenya or who is an advocate of High Court of Kenya of not less than less 10 years standing.
  2. Six other persons with knowledge and experience in any one of the following areas, journalism, media policy and law, media regulation, business practice and finance, the performing arts or entertainment, advertising practice or related social sciences.

Pursuant to section 31 of the Media Act 2013, the Complaints Commission will;

  1. Mediate or adjudicate in disputes between the government and the media and between the public and the media and intra media on ethical issues
  2. Ensure the adherence of high standards of journalism as provided for in the code of conduct for the practice of journalism in Kenya
  3. Achieve impartial, speedy and cost-effective settlement of complaints against journalists and media enterprises, without fear of favour

The services of the Commission are free and independent of the Media and Government. In general, complaints must constitute a breach of the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya (Second Schedule, The Media Act).

The Code has 25 Articles incorporating the “dos and don’ts” of the media including fairness and accuracy, right of reply, using unnamed sources, misrepresentation, privacy, use of pictures and names, integrity, accountability, obscenity and bad taste, intrusion into grief and shock, protection of children and victims of sexual violence, acts of violence and hate speech.

The decisions of the Commission have the force of the decisions of a court of law are only appealable to the High Court.