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Pressure mounts on government to restore analogue signal

19 February 2015, 20:59 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – Pressure is mounting on the government to move with haste to resolve the ongoing digital switch over for television between the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) and media owners.

Lugari MP, Ayub Savula has said CAK’s move to award foreign investor companies, Signet and PANG more digital platform than local media investors intends to create joblessness among its own citizens in addition to contravening the constitutional provision on equity.

“Ignoring local media owners and giving foreign investors a lot of digital platform will affects jobs among citizens in media industry and compromise our national security. The global digital migration deadline has not elapsed and the government should not rush then the process fails in the future,” said Savula.

He asked the government to emulate the attained Tanzanian digital switch over where he cited that the government involved various stakeholders in the Information sector to amicably agree on the time to move from the analogue platform.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta should come out and tell the Information Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i that there is much corruption in the switch over and the process should be re-looked. Media owners of the three off-air televisions should be given up to three months to bring in their digital set boxes as suggested,” said Savula.

He cautioned the government against serving the interests of foreign investors at the expense of its own citizens is “treading on dangerous ground and auctioning the country” which he held it ruins the spirit of patriotism.

Savula also added that the two on-air televisions; KBC and K24 have minimal viewership of less than two million compared to the switched off four televisions; Citizen, KTN, QTV and NTV having over four million viewers. He reiterated that this contravenes the constitutional right to information and choice for every citizen.   

Othaya MP, Mary Wambui also called on the government to consider the welfare of its citizens in its agenda of job creation and poverty eradication before bringing in foreign investors.

“I ask the government, which I am also part, to urgently resolve the matter for the switched off televisions to continue with their normal operations because our youths have resorted to going to bars and entertainment clubs because of boredom,” said Wambui.

She further warned CAK against attempting to limit the freedom of the media by allowing foreign companies to be only one to provide digital platform in dispatching content for local television.

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