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GOtv, StarTimes could face another Kenyan lawsuit

Kenya , 22 Apr 2014

GOtv, StarTimes could face another Kenyan lawsuit

A consumer body says Kenyan television viewers are not getting what they paid for after a court ruled that the likes of StarTimes and GOtv stop broadcasting certain local channels.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Kenya prohibited digital signal distributors China’s StarTimes, MultiChoice’s GOtv, Pan African Network and Signet from broadcasting channels from three media houses: Nation Media Group, Standard Media Group and Royal Media Services.

The court issued this ruling on the grounds that StarTimes, GOtv, Pan African Network and Signet did not have permission to broadcast the channels. Subsequently, the digital broadcasters were ordered to stop broadcasting the channels altogether.

But the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) has said it is unhappy with this situation.

“The disruption in the continued reception of these key channels occasions heavy inconvenience to consumers who are not party to the dispute between the two broadcast signal retailers GOtv and StarTimes on one hand and the three media houses on the other,” the federation said in a statement.

“An apology silent on resumption date by the broadcast retailers is certainly not enough. Consumers prepay for the services under the oral and/or written contract of prerequisite FTA channels being part and parcel of all their offerings.”

The federation also pointed an accusing finger at the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) over their deafening silence on the matter.

Cofek has said the CAK should have rescued consumers from this debacle.

“Ideally, the CAK should have now summoned both the retailers and media houses to a dialogue meeting to hasten their negotiations. Even then, consumers must be compensated for the period the FTA’s have been off-air,” the statement continued.

Backed by section four of the consumer protection Act 2012, the federation threatens that in seven days they may proceed with a class action suit against GOtv, StarTimes and CAK.

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