Supreme Court ruling rejuvenates Kenya’s Digital Migration
The ruling by the Supreme Court of Kenya today must have been ominous to those who are superstitious about #Friday13th. To some, such as the regulator, majority of broadcasting stakeholders and the public, #Friday13th brought a long awaited blessing – a legal victory. However, it visited upon the three TV broadcasters a haunting deadline they had escaped when they prevented the Analogue Switch Off on #Friday13th December 2013.
Digital Migration fiasco in Kenya is a “Tyranny of Success”, Caroline Mutoko
Journalist and Radio Presenter Caroline Mutoko has voiced her views about the challenges facing the Digital Migration process in Kenya. She termed it a “Tyranny of Success” resulting from #oldmedia having been found unprepared for the impact of technological change.
Watch her video on her YouTube channel as she reminds Kenyans that “The people who stand to gain from #DigitalMigration outnumber the people who are going to lose”
The “Big Three” broadcasters (NTV/KTV/CitizenTV) have lost their bid to, yet again, delay the Digital Migration process in order to prepare their own infrastructure. They also received an ominous directive from the Supreme Court; that they must abide by the licence conditions laid down by the regulator – The Communications Authority of Kenya. The highest Court in the land ruled that the regulator had fulfilled the directives outlined in the Court’s ruling of 29th September 2014.
According to the print divisions of the media houses and their social media sites, there is an apparent celebration of what the consider a victory. They are happy with the restoration of the temporary authorisation to carry out self provisioning and return of the frequencies to enable them transmit via digital TV. That however, had been offered by the CA one week ago on 6th February 2015 – alongside four conditions they must abide by. The Supreme Court has made it clear that the broadcasters must abide by the very same conditions set by the regulator.
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE NATION MEDIA GROUP – NMG, STANDARD GROUP LIMITED – SGL, AND THE ROYAL MEDIA SERVICES – RMS.
SUBJECT: THE TRUTH ABOUT ANALOGUE SWITCH OFF
We have read the statement by Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communications and Technology Fred Matiang’i and here wish to provide the accurate account of the events around digital migration, including the forceful shutdown of analogue transmission for NTV, KTN, Citizen and QTV;
1. On Saturday the 14th of February 2015, at around midday, officials from the Communications Authority accompanied by armed policemen made forceful entry into the NTV, CITIZEN, KTN and QTV transmission stations in Limuru and dismantled and carted away equipment.
2. The three media houses have been broadcasting on ANALOGUE platform and the dismantling of the equipment by the CA in Limuru effectively switched off our transmission. We have NOT been broadcasting on digital and the application that was before the Supreme Court was about being afforded adequate time to order, import and install digital broadcast equipment.
3. The forceful shutdown of analogue broadcasting was clearly calculated at forcing the three media houses to avail their signal for distribution by the government-owned SIGNET and the government’s preferred Chinese-owned distributor Pan Africa Group PANG that also operates Pay TV service Star Times.
4. Forcing the three media houses to avail their channels to either PANG or SIGNET will be inconsistent with the right to carry their own content as provided by the Self Provisioning Licence reinstated by the Supreme Court on Friday the 13th February 2015.
5. It is incomprehensible that the ICT Cabinet Secretary and the Communications Authority choose to blame the three media houses for a broadcast switch off that the government and the regulator is entirely responsible for.
6. We note with concern that the statement by the Cabinet Secretary is laced with threats aimed at intimidating the three media houses into giving in to the contentious, pre-determined and altogether unacceptable position taken by the Communications Authority on digital signal distribution.
7. Finally, to our viewers, we regret the inconvenience caused by the unfortunate developments arising entirely from the gross mishandling of the digital migration process by the Communications Authority and other forces. The three media houses have been and will always remain committed to digital migration and we are doing everything possible to get your channels back on air.
NTV, CITIZEN, KTN and QTV.