Mixed signals over deadline for analogue sets switch-off
There was confusion on Wednesday over whether or not the government would switch off the analogue broadcasting signal in Nairobi after the Supreme Court directed temporarily stoppage of the migration.
The court issued the orders on Tuesday evening following an application filed by three media houses –Nation Media Group, Royal Media Services and Standard Group- seeking more time to prepare for the shift.
But on Wednesday the government seemed to be reading from a different script, saying that the orders did not stop the Communications Authority of Kenya from switching off the analogue signal.
Communications and Technology Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said that the court only restrained the regulator from cancelling the licences of the three media houses but did not say anything about the December 31 midnight deadline.
DECLINED TO ISSUE
“The Supreme Court specifically declined to issue the second part of the of prayer No. 3 of the application which was that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents be allowed to continue analogue broadcasting while they put in place the infrastructure necessary to migrate to digital broadcasting,” Mr Matiang’i said.
He said the government would go ahead with the switch off which would affect all analogue stations.
“All analogue transmitters in Nairobi shall be switched off at 23;59hrs or after the presidential New Year address to the nation, whichever comes later. The Communication Authority of Kenya has issued the regulatory notices to all analogue television broadcasters to this effect. We expect that they will fully comply with the notice,” CA consumer and public affairs director Mutua Muthusi said at a press conference in Nairobi on Wednesday.
He listed 11 channels that would be affected, including Citizen TV, NTV and KTN.
The trio had in its application asked that the regulator be restrained from cancelling their broadcasting licences and be allowed to continue with analogue broadcasting even until the case is heard.
The case will be heard on January 5.
The Supreme Court in reference to the plea said: “That an order of status quo as regards the broadcasting licences of the 1st , 2nd and 3rd respondents in terms of prayer No. 3 of the application be and is hereby granted until 5th January 2015.”