Digital migration is inevitable
17 February 2015, 12:05
Nairobi - The world ratified a decision to switch to the digital platform of signal broadcasting by mid 2015. It was left to individual countries to ensure that their citizens actually are prepared for the monumental shift from analogue to digital.
United Nations council on media and communication ratified the agreement way back in 2010 after seriousness intense deliberations. Countries in the sub-Sahara were adequately notified and given ample time to maneuver the murky waters of broadcast signal change.
As much as Kenya was fronted as the country to leaf this migration especially in East and Central Africa, the stakeholders within the country never took the task seriously.
In fact, the media houses that have continued to dominate the airwaves took their time in negotiating deals with established signal broadcasters while some ignored the calls to prepare for the global migration.
Since the courts have become a place for all manner of battles, the major media houses dragged the government to court seeking authorisation to broadcast their digital signal on their independent platform. It was a menace since the government was simply asking them to meet the compliance requirements and be allowed to air their content on whichever platform they so wished.
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Instead of feeling the weight of the matter and walking with government hand in hand, the media houses started throwing tantrums. They went advertising against the already permitted signal broadcasters. It was an exercise in futility.
When the government realised that these media giants were actually truing to stall Kenyans from migrating, it took action by switching off the analogue signal. A raid was carried on Valentine's day at the Limuru station where Police officers and Communication Authority officials cut the cables aiding in signal transmission.
This was the only way Kenyans could be adequately prepared for the June switch off date. Failure to take action the government would have been caught unawares and this would have been embarrassing to the nation especially when economically junior nations like Tanzania and Rwanda have already set the ball rolling and are halfway through with the migration.
Local media houses should learn that you cannot hold a country at ransom simply because they never prepared for the scheduled switch-off. People must be taught how to respect the interests of Kenyans and safeguard the rights of all Kenyans alike.
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