Govt vows to push ahead with digital TV switchover
16 February 2015, 08:17
Nairobi - The government vowed Sunday to push ahead with a switch from analogue to digital television signals, a day after four key stations went off air.
Officials from the government's Communication Authority, accompanied by police, switched off the analogue signal around midday Saturday at four major stations -- NTV, KTN, Citizen TV and QTV.
"We will not go back on digital migration," the information and communications ministry said in a statement, telling Kenyans it would give them a "better and clearer broadcast signal".
Several broadcasters oppose the government's phase-out of analogue technology, arguing that the digital boxes needed for the new service would be too expensive for most Kenyans.
Also read: Government to punish 'switched off' TV stations
It is unclear how long those channels will remain off the air, but the ministry also warned media houses that they "are not above the law."
The ministry said the broadcasters breached regulations with the channels themselves turning their digital signals off in protest.
"We expect responsibility on their part and will not accept to be blackmailed," the ministry said.
Only a small minority of Kenyans have the boxes needed to view digital TV.
The opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy alliance criticised the shutdown for plunging Kenya into "information darkness" in which people who have "no access to the expensive pay TV will never know what is going on in government."
But the government said it wanted to ensure that Kenya meets a global deadline in June to shift to digital signals, and said it continues to "jealously guard freedom of the press".
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