CA pulls plug on digital plans for 3 media houses

January 21, 2015
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The authority has temporally withdrawn the authorisation for Africa Digital Network, a consortium for NTV, Citizen and KTN. Photo/ COURTESY
The authority has temporally withdrawn the authorisation for Africa Digital Network, a consortium for NTV, Citizen and KTN. Photo/ COURTESY

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21 – The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has ‘punished’ Nation Media Group, Royal Media Service and Standard Media by temporarily revoking their digital broadcasting license over a controversial advert.

The authority has temporally withdrawn the authorisation for Africa Digital Network, a consortium under which the three companies plan to roll out their own digital platforms including distribution of their own Set Top Boxes (STBs).

This follows a recent the contentious advertisement on their media platforms advising consumers against buying GOtv and Startimes STBs. The advert has since been suspended by the courts.

READ: Court mutes ‘defamatory’ adverts against GOtv.

“In view of these gross violations by the three media houses the authority has decided to take the following administrative actions; withdraw the temporary authorisation granted to the consortium by the three media houses (under the consortium identified as Africa Digital Network),” CA Director General Francis Wangusi said in a media briefing on Wednesday.

“Subsequently the authority shall reposes the frequency spectrum resources allocated with immediate effect,” he added.

CA has also announced that it will bar them from importing any STBs adding that it has not received any request from them for type approval, which is against the law.

“Liaise with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to bar the importation of Set Top Boxes by the three media houses considering the purported Set Top Boxes are not type-approved by the authority,” Wangusi told journalists.

So far the authority has type-approved more than 65 Set Top Boxes which are available in the market today including GOTV and Startimes STBs.

Wangusi says the advertisement dissuading consumers from purchasing Set Top Boxes from other suppliers approved by the authority was misleading to the public and portrays anti-competitive conduct by the three media houses.

“The advertisement by the three media houses is misleading to the public and is offensive to the market. It is equally in gross violation of the legal and regulatory framework governing the sector,” he said.

The CA boss says the authority will now hand over the matter to Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) to investigate what he terms as “cartel-like behaviour and anti-competitive conduct” and take appropriate regulatory remedies.

The move by CA will now see the three media houses delay in laying their digital infrastructure until the matter is resolved within unspecified timelines.

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