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Digital migration war heads back to court

22 January 2015, 10:42 Nechesa Chemoi

Nairobi - Three local media houses have vowed to move to court to challenge the withdrawal of a temporary authorisation for the roll out of their own digital broadcast signal distribution platform.

The Communications Authority of Kenya withdrew the licencing authorization given to the Africa Digital Network, a consortium of the Royal Media Services (RMS), the Nation Media Group (NMG), and the Standard Group (SDG) on Wednesday.

CA accused four television stations owned by the above media houses of jointly running a misleading advertisement to the public and offensive to the market.  

"The said advertisement purports that Startimes and GOtv are illegally carrying their content thereby infringing on copyright and neighbouring rights," CA Director General Francis Wangusi said. 

"The advertisement goes farther to instruct consumers not to purchase Startimes and GOtv pay-tv set-top boxes to watch CITIZEN Television, NTV, KTN and QTV."

However, the three media houses were quick to respond to the move by CA, saying it must be condemned as a blatant and irresponsible abuse of responsibility by a public-funded entity.

Also read: CA takes back digital licences of 3 media houses

“With a stroke of the pen, the regulator has taken the unprecedented decision to kill off Kenyan businesses funded through sweat and tears in order to protect the interests of two foreign companies,” read part of the statement from NMG,SDG and RMS.

They maintained that they will not allow other companies to gain profits using their content.

“Our position is that is immoral and unjustifiable especially where Startimes and GoTV use the content we generate at our own expense to further financial profit motives,” they said, adding that their viewers should wait for their custom-made set top boxes to enable them access their content.

They also reiterated that they are not against digital migration and what they are fighting for is a level playing field where they will have an opportunity to compete fairly with others.

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