License Ban On Kenyan TV Stations Lifted But Not Without Conditions


The defamatory and misleading infomercial that was ran by three media houses on their respective TV stations KTN, NTV, QTV and Citizen attracted a withdrawal of license from their consortium Africa Digital Network(ADN) to distribute set top boxes in the country.

Now following an appeal from ADN, the Communications Authority (CA) of Kenya has lifted the ban for the three media houses but the lifting does not come on a gold platter as they will have to meet various conditions in a period of seven working days, counting from Friday the 6th of February.

First, each media house will have to pay a penalty fee of KSh 500,000 (about $5,500) for carrying the misleading infomercial against Pay TV companies GOtv and StarTimes. Other conditions include making a commitment not to run misleading advertisements, not to distribute their expected Set Top Boxes (STBs) without type-approval as well as not to engage in unfair competitive behavior.

Only after the three meet the set four conditions will the regulatory authority resume processing of the self-provisioning license earlier granted to AND. The license only covers the distribution of set top boxes but not digital signal licenses.

Francis Wangusi, the CA director insists that the BSD license if issued will be through a tender application and will not be in anyone’s favour, even the local stations.

Kenya’s digital migration remains confusing to consumers even after the CA and the government insisted that the analogue switch off was not to be delayed, when they announced the switch off timetable that was to take place in three phases.

The first phase that covered Nairobi environs took place on December 31st or better on 1st January, 2015, and the second phase was scheduled for last week February 1st.  While the day and week passed without word on the plans, stations like KBC and K24 who had moved to digital signals went back to analogue signals.

Its only three months left now to the global ITU deadline, and once again the country is more behind than ever before, just like it is with 4G LTE network (Safaricom is becoming a saviour here) while the national broadband that was planned years ago continues to dust away.

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