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Kenyan digital distributors ordered to stop broadcasting channels

Kenya , 11 Apr 2014

Kenyan digital distributors ordered to stop broadcasting channels

Four digital television distributors in Kenya are no longer allowed to broadcast channels belonging to Royal Media Services, the Nation Media Group and Standard Media Group.

Nation Media owns Nation TV (NTV) and QTV; Standard Media runs Kenya Television Network (KTN) and Royal Media Services has Citizen TV.

And the Supreme Court of Kenya ruled on Friday that Signet, China’s StarTimes, Pan African Network and MultiChoice’s GOtv may longer broadcast these channels.

The court also upheld the order for Kenya’s communications regulatory body to issue digital broadcasting licences to the three local broadcast companies.

This is a big win for the three media stations who claimed that their rights were infringed owing to the broadcast of their channels without their consent.

The three digital distributors “are hereby prohibited from broadcasting any content from the Royal Media Services limited, Nation Media Limited and Standard Group Limited without their consent pending the hearing and determination of the appeal,” Justice Jackton Ojwang of the Supreme Court ruled on Friday afternoon.

In an earlier hearing on Thursday, lawyer Paul Muite in the interest of the three broadcasters claimed that even though the Court of Appeal ruled that the digital broadcasting of the free-to-air channels was illegal, StarTimes continued with the broadcast of the stations during prime time news.

In the ruling, the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) was also prohibited from switching any signals until the cases are heard.

Although, the switch off date for the digital migration remains at September 30 this year.
“The CCK is prohibited from switching off any frequencies or broadcast services pending the hearing and determination of the appeal,” Justice Ojwang ruled.

The full hearing will be held on May 27 2014.

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