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High Court halts digital migration

21 December 2012, 13:49 Roggers Momata

Following a move by the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) to file a case against the government’s intentions of effecting the 31st December 2012 deadline to have the analogue signals switched-off in Nairobi and its environs, the High Court yesterday morning halted the move until 11th January when the a ruling of the same shall be made.

After the government’s intervention in having the prices of set-top boxes reduced and retail between KES 2 500 – KES 9 000 respectively, Information Permanent Secretary Dr. Bitange Ndemo made an announcement that the government has no good intention to postpone the Nairobi switch-off following the government’s subsidy.

“The government has already invested KES 2 billion to oversee the rolling out of the digital infrastructure and any possible delays in switching-off the analogue signals would only be doing more harm to the economy as the government needs to free the necessary frequencies to be used,” said Ndemo on 30th November while addressing the press.

However, the Consumer Federation maintains that the issued notice to Nairobi residents highly discriminates against those Kenyans who can’t afford set-top boxes and also adds to the poor timing of the migration as the nation heads towards the general elections where information relayed via the television to edify the voters on the forthcoming elections might not be delivered appropriately. Adding to the list are the demands of the Christmas festivities and January expenses of sending children back to school.

In a statement made to the press, the lobby group highlighted that the decision taken by the government contravenes the doctrine of public participation which is embraced under Article 10 of the constitution- Something that is bound to keep a lot of Kenyans away from accessing information which is also included under the Bill of Rights.

The proposed December 31st deadline according to Cofek lacks legal, economic and moral basis to be effected. This is due to the fact that the International Telecommunication Union set 2015 as the Universal switch-off deadline.

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