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Viewers suffer as migration deadlock persists

23 April 2014, 10:07

Nairobi - Viewers appear to have borne the biggest brunt of the deadlock characterizing the migration from analogue to digital broadcasting.

This comes after the lapse of Consumer Federation of Kenya’s (COFEK’s) seven-day notice to Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) and two pay television operators over absence of free to air channels on decoders.

According to COFEK, numerous consumer complaints regarding the missing NTV, KTN and Citizen TV FTA channels on GoTV and StarTimes have been received.

“The disruption in the continued reception of these key channels occasions heavy inconvenience to consumers who are not party to the dispute between the two broadcast signal retailers GoTv and StarTimes on one hand and the three media houses on the other,” stated COFEK.

COFEK stated that consumers should be accorded a compensation for the time that they have missed out on free to air channels on their GoTv and Startimes decoders.

It further stated that the regulator, CAK, should have called upon the retailers and the broadcasters to a discussion to end the stalemate.

“The CAK should have now summoned both the retailers and media houses to a dialogue meeting to hasten their negotiations. Even then, consumers must be compensated for the period the FTA’s have been off-air,” stated COFEK.

Free to Air channels were withdrawn from the broadcast signal retailers after a court decision ruled against the retailers’ broadcasting of broadcasters’ programmes without compensation.

The government appealed the ruling but the Supreme Court upheld the decision which had also postponed the digital migration to September 2014.

COFEK has vowed to seek action against the broadcast signal retailers, GoTv and Startimes.

“We will be seeking for consumer compensation, a declaration that the two retailers have reneged on their service level agreement with the regulator and that CAK has failed to protect consumer rights as per its mandate,” COFEK stated.

 – CAJ News

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