Media houses' authorisation to purchase set-top boxes withdrawn

by Elayne Wangalwa 0

Speaking during a press briefing in Nairobi, the director general of the CA, Francis Wangusi said that they had come to the decision following the ‘gross misconduct and violation of the law’ by Nation Media Group, Standard Group Limited and Royal Media Services for running a misleading advertisement.

“The said advertisement purports that Startimes and GoTV are illegally carrying their content thereby infringing on copyright and neighbouring rights,” Wangusi told reporters.

“The advertisement goes farther to instruct consumers not to purchase Startimes and GoTV pay tv set-top boxes to watch Citizen Television, NTV, KTN and QTV.”

Other actions that the authority will take against the media houses is the repossession of the frequency spectrum resources allocated to them, halting of the issuance of a network facilitator provider tier 2 license and barring the importation of set top boxes by the three media houses.

(READ MORE: Kenya’s digital TV upgrade)

Wangusi also said the three media houses are keen on disrupting the process of digital migration.

The switch-off date has been postponed on several occasions due to a lawsuit by the three media houses. The case between the media houses and the government has also often been referred to the Supreme Court of Kenya.

Currently, there are up to three digital broadcasting platform licenses that have been issued. The three media houses were issued with a fourth license last year.

According to Wangusi, the country has put money aside and taken steps to educate the public on the digital migration and its importance.

“More than 1.2 million set-top boxes have been purchased since migration in Kenya began. At the moment, the market has more than 1.5 million set-top boxes in stock,” he said.

Last year, the CA announced a schedule for the migration process, stating that Nairobi would be switched off by end of 2014, followed by vital towns like Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru and Eldoret in February.

The rest of the country would ultimately migrate by June 2015.

(WATCH VIDEODigital migration for Kenya still on track)

Kenya has less than five months before the global digital migration deadline on 17 June 2015.

The decision to migrate from analogue to digital television broadcasting was made in 2006 during the Regional Radio Conference in Geneva.