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Will digital migration war end?

22 January 2015, 13:20 Victor Tinto

Nairobi - 3 media houses whose digital licences were revoked are planning a major fightback over the decision by the Communications Authority of Kenya.

The media houses have cried foul over the move by the CA to revoke their licences after they posted derogatory messages about their competitors on their platforms.

The three stations together with QTV, NTV's sister company posted messages telling Kenyans not to buy decoders from GOtv and Star Times Kenya unless they were not keen on watching their stations.

They also claimed that the two had violated copyright by carrying their stations on their platforms.

The CA said that the move by the three exhibited ill motive and tact and that they acted in an ungainly manner".

" Communications Authority withdraws the self provisioning license given to three media houses allowing them to have their own spectrum. 

The CA also confirmed it has banned the three media house from importing set top boxes thanks to their conduct and said it will liaise with the Kenya Revenue Authority to ensure they do not import them.

" CA has also barred the importation of set top boxes by the ADN consortium that are not type approved".

The CA blamed the three media houses for spreading what they termed as hate messages about other media houses.

" The infomercials from the 3 media houses portray an anti-competitive conduct by the media houses," The CA said.

But in a rejoinder, the lawyer of the three media houses Paul Muite termed the move by the CA as unfair and patronizing.

He said that the move was not done in good faith and that the message put out by the media houses was not in any way ill motivated.

" The messages just told Kenyans not to buy other decoders because they will not carry our channels. That was all it said. There was no ill motive," he added

He also confirmed that the media houses would go to court to contest the decision by the CA.

" We will be in court soon. The level of investment already in the digital migration runs into the billions of shillings and the media houses feel hard done by," he added.

The three media houses also say that they have not shown the CA their set top boxes simply because they have not yet imported them and that they have already put in an order for them.

Nation Media Group chair Wilfred Kiboro said that the set top boxes are on the way and that they had already put in a deposit for them.

" We have already put in a deposit for them and they are on the way. That is the only reason we have not been able to show the CA the boxes," he said Wednesday.

But the question by many is, will the war ever end?

So far there is a case at the Supreme Court over the digital migration, another one by GOtv over the messages spread by the three media houses as well as the upcoming one by the three media houses.

But in the end, who suffers? The consumer.

" It really is a matter that must be resolved because we need Kenyans to get the best opportunity to have a choice to make and in a timely and pocket friendly manner, which is not the case right now, Johnson Mutai, an aggrieved member of the public says.

The Consumer Federation of Kenya COFEK says that it wants the matter resolved in-order to hand Kenyans as much time as possible to make a decision on the way forward.

" The worldwide deadline for migration is not far away. We need to ensure that Kenyans are protected from the ongoing war over the migration, the body said.

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- MyNews24

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