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Cancellation of digital broadcast licence archaic - Mudavadi

26 January 2015, 13:00 Nesta Marley

Nairobi - United Democratic Front (UDF) party leader, Musalia Mudavadi has criticized the government for awarding so many frequencies to KBC.

“There is something fishy in allocation of so many frequencies to one entity. That is centralisation. I oversaw the liberalization of communications sector as minister. Aim was to make the sector a major investment which the country has achieved,” said Mudavadi.

The former Minister for Information, Transport and Communication questioned the move by Communication Authority to revoke broadcasting licenses of the leading TV station in the country saying freedom is achieved through diversity.

“We need to create a more open society of competing ideas. This has largely contributed to democratisation. Kenyans are now used to freedom of the press,” he explained.

He continued, "To try to clog that space is to reverse an already established norm. All Kenyans must have access to information.”

Read Also: Government wants to silence media houses, says Raila

Currently, out of 211 digital frequencies of national broadcast spectrum, Chinese firm Pan African Network Group which owns Star Times has been awarded 120 frequencies.

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) is allocated 53 frequencies while KTN, NTV and Citizen TV have jointly been allocated 21 frequencies despite controlling over 80 percent of viewership in the country.

Mudavadi bemoaned that though digital immigration is important, most Kenyans cannot afford a TV leave alone the monthly subscription fee.

He observed that compulsory pay TV being dangled by the CA to Kenyans should be halted for wider consultations from all stakeholders.

He termed the government's deadline on digital migration as ‘a profit motive in the crude way of forcing pay TV on Kenyans’.

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- MyNews24

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