, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 3 – Capital Group Chairman Chris Kirubi is urging the government to withdraw the Broadcast Signal Distribution license issued to the Pan African Network Group (PANG) in order to resolve the digital migration stand-off.
Speaking before the National Assembly Energy Information and Communication committee, Kirubi said there was need to create a public-private partnership which would encompass all players in the media industry to curb discontent.
“If we did not have PANG and we had only SIGNET, all this hullabaloo would have died. You need to withdraw the license of PANG because if you give licenses to the three media houses (Nation, Standard and Citizen), we who are sitting here are also Kenyans protected by the Constitution and equal treatment is a must, so we will also come and ask for licenses,” said Kirubi.
Kirubi noted the fact very few Kenyans really understood the concept of migration stating that it was not properly introduced to the public and that all stakeholders in the media industry were not involved thus making it look like it was targeting certain entities.
“I think we needed more education and more knowledge… we should have looked at it on a national basis rather than individualistic selfish interest we should have looked at what was good for Kenya media and the best for Kenya media was having an independent platform carrying all the off air media to give everybody equal opportunity, so that we could all seamlessly transfer our analogue media to digital media,” added Kirubi.
The media houses who have already migrated under the umbrella of the Digital Broadcasters Association implored the committee led by Jamleck Kamau to oppose any attempts to extend the migration deadline as requested by KTN, NTV, and Citizen TV.
Multichoice East Africa Regional Director, Stephen Isaboke, said if the demands by the media houses were honoured, it would negatively impact the migration issue as it would also result in loss of revenue as other media houses had invested heavily to facilitate migration to the digital platform.
“In our honest view, at this stage, there is no reason why somebody should be sitting in an impasse saying we cannot migrate. You always don’t have to be ready all of you to actually move, you can use platforms that are available as you perfect your own case. Our view is that it will undermine the whole concept of migration is another extension is sought.”
Radio Africa’s Patrick Quarcoo on his part said the digital migration process was inevitable and urged the government to empower businesses importing Set Top Boxes to make it affordable to Kenyans.
He also stated the importance of creating an enabling environment for Kenyans to generate content which will create more jobs, sentiments shared by Kirubi.
Gathoni Muchomba the proprietor of Utugi Farmers TV noted that the advent of digital TV would help the government achieve its millennium development goals regarding health, farming and education as various stations had specialized in those programs.
She also lamented that advertising money especially from the government was still spent on traditional media despite having migrated way earlier saying the government needed to ensure there was a level playing ground for stakeholders in the industry.
Over 20 digital broadcasters including, Utugi Farmers TV, Deliverance TV, NjataTV, Elimu TV, Fountain Media, Mother and Child TV and Youth TV among others attended the sitting.
In closing, MP Kamau (Kigumo) urged the association to present its submission to the committee so that it incorporated in the report to be present on the floor of the House.