Government to punish 'switched off' TV stations
15 February 2015, 16:05
Nairobi - There will be sanctions for TV stations that have switched themselves off the Digital platform, the Communications Authority CA and the government have said.
The four stations, NTV, KTN, Citizen TV and QTV went off air Saturday in a move which they claimed was forced on them by the CA, which switched off analogue signal in majority of the country Saturday.
But in a rejoinder Sunday, the CA said that it had only switched off analogue as per its mandate and a ruling by the Supreme Court Friday and that the four stations had switched off their digital signal by themselves.
Director General Fredrick Wangusi said that the decision to switch off the digital signal was a violation of the country's laws and that action would be taken on the stations.
He added that the CA will also consider taking back digital licenses awarded to the media houses as a form of punishment for their continued misconduct.
" They must be punished. They have to face the consequences," a visibly angered Wangusi told reporters Sunday.
" Whether they made the decision emotionally or not, it is up to them. We live in a world governed by facts and not emotions and they have acted in an emotional manner so action will be taken," he added.
Wangusi was flanked by ICT cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i who was also mystified by their actions.
" Kenyans will not be taken for granted of for ransom by these media houses. Digital migration is a must and we all have to conform with it. The government will not be strong armed into doing otherwise," he said.
The media houses will hold a press conference Monday where they will detail their next step as they seek to counter the lack of analogue space.
They will likely await the punishment meted out to them by the CA, who will also hold a special meeting Monday morning to sanction the media houses.
The switch-off followed a ruling Friday by the Supreme Court that the set dates for migration within Nairobi and its environs would remain 31 December 2014 and for other major towns in the country February 2, 2015, which in essence meant that the four stations were in violation of the migration schedule having not earlier made the switch.
The CA thus proceeded to switch off analogue signal Saturday.
The four had argued Friday that they needed more time to move to the digital platforms as they were in the process of importing their own set top boxes.
However, the Supreme Court said that in the spirit of competition, it was necessary for all stations to shift to the digital network in-order to allow a fair playing field as every other station apart from the four had already moved.
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