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TV stations to return on air Thursday

The four leading broadcasters will be back on air from 6.50pm Thursday.

But only viewers in Nairobi will get back their favourite programmes, the rest of the country will have to wait a little longer.

NTV, KTN, Citizen TV and QTV account for over 90 per cent of the total television viewership in the country.

The stations will be broadcasting on their own digital platform which they said is now ready with transmitters having been installed.

Viewers will require universal set-top boxes which receive free-to-air signals.


Independent broadcasters, operating under Africa Digital Network, will operate on a self-provisioning licence, which means they can only carry their own programmes, reinstated by the Supreme Court on February 13.

The decision to resume broadcasting was reached at a meeting on Tuesday.

The stations are owned by the Nation Media Group, the Standard Group and the Royal Media Services.

They have been off air since February 14, when the Communications Authority of Kenya raided their transmitters in Limuru and switched off their analogue equipment, leaving the public without an independent source of news and information.

A day earlier, the Media Owners Association had defied an order by the regulator to switch off analogue TV broadcasting.

It had, instead, accused the Communications Authority of Kenya of selectively applying a Supreme Court ruling on the dispute.


The authority, it said, had chosen to address itself to only parts of the Supreme Court ruling while disregarding the interests of more than 90 per cent of viewers who depend entirely on free-to-air television.

“We expect the CA to address itself to the rest of the orders issued by the Supreme Court, specifically the reinstatement of the Self-Provisioning Digital Broadcasting Licence which must equally be communicated to us in writing,” the media owners said in the statement.

By reinstating the licence and the frequencies, the Supreme Court orders allowed the three media houses to migrate to digital broadcasting as self-provisioning signal distributors.

But even in the face of outrage from Kenyans, the government threatened to punish the TV stations for resisting attempts to put their programmes on a Chinese-owned digital carrier.

Information Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i threatened unspecified action against the media owners for stopping the broadcasting.

He accused the Africa Digital Network Ltd, a consortium formed by the three companies, of switching themselves off.