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CA to penalize 4 switched off TV stations

26 February 2015, 08:23 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – The Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) has said the four television stations that went off air will be penalized for violating the laid down laws after switching themselves off from the digital platform.

Information Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i said the three media houses; Nation Media Group, Royal Media Services and Standard Group went against their individual licenses by switching themselves off to blackmail the government.

“No media house is supposed to be off air for three hours without notifying the regulator. CA is doing something about that violation,” said Matiangi.

Matiang’i held that although his ministry and CA are engaging the responsible media owners to end the ongoing crisis, he ruled out a return to analogue platform.

“They switched themselves off the digital platform to blackmail the government. They are the only ones to switch themselves back,” he said.

CA Director General, Francis Wangusi said the State owned digital signal distributor, PANG has shelved 20% of its shares to Kenyans as required by law, adding that he will table the four companies that have joined PANG and names of their directors next week.

Also read: Who is bigger? Supreme Court or High Court, CA asks

Wangusi and Matiang’i had appeared before the Senate Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee chaired by Busia Senator, Amos Wako where the CA Director General told the committee that PANG and Signet companies are not licensed to create content but to distribute digital signals.

He said the three media houses who had a chance to apply for the 20% digital signal share did not go for it.

Matiangi disclosed that there is a stock of 1,349, 401 set-top-boxes in the country and revealed that as of Friday last week, a total of 1,969, 163 set top boxes had been acquired by Kenyans.

He added that a total of 3.5 million households had television sets before the country switched over to digital system.

The CS further said 65 companies had been licensed to sell set top boxes adding that the three media houses’ proposed African Digital Network company is yet to be licensed to distribute their signal.

“The law stipulates that for you to sell a set-top-box, you have to apply for a vendors license, bring a sample of a set top box to be approved by Communication Authority of Kenya and Kenya Bureau of statistics before you get an approval to import the set top boxes. None of these steps have been initiated by the three media houses” said Matiangi.

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