2,000 jobs at risk in digital row, says KUJ

February 16, 2015 3:52 pm
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Following the action by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), NTV, QTV, KTN and Citizen TV have been off air on digital platforms, amid counter accusations between them and the CA over was responsible for the blackout/FILE
Following the action by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), NTV, QTV, KTN and Citizen TV have been off air on digital platforms, amid counter accusations between them and the CA over was responsible for the blackout/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – The Kenya Union of Journalists has said about 2,000 scribes risk losing their jobs following the switch-off of analogue TV transmissions in Nairobi and its environs.

Following the action by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), NTV, QTV, KTN and Citizen TV have been off air on digital platforms, amid counter accusations between them and the CA over was responsible for the blackout.

The union has therefore called on the CA to allow the television stations continue broadcasting on an analogue platform for the three months it will take them to be fully operational on a digital platform in order to preserve the jobs of journalists and all those who have been left in limbo by the switch-off.

“There is no employer in the world who will keep somebody in office if this person has got nothing to do,” KUJ Secretary General Erick Oduor explained.

The Association of Practitioners in Advertising also weighed in on the digital migration standoff between the three media houses and the CA calling for both parties to move away from their hardline positions and strike a compromise.

Contrary to the stand taken by KUJ, COFEK said it was the TV stations which were putting the jobs of their employees on the line, and not the CA, by their refusal to continue broadcasts on other digital signal carriers.

“It’s akin to refusing a lift from your neighbour because you’re on your way to buy a limousine. It makes absolutely no sense,” COFEK Secretary General Stephen Mutoro told Capital FM News on Monday.

READ: Eat humble pie, COFEK tells media in digital row

The two parties, CA and the three media houses, have been on opposing sides of the digital migration process since the former denied the latter a Digital Broadcast Signal distribution (BSD) licence.

The Supreme Court later ordered that the TV station consortium be awarded a self-provisioning licence.

But they went on to squabble over the number of frequencies awarded and were unable to agree on a digital migration deadline, again as directed by the Supreme Court, with the TV stations calling for a May deadline.

The plea was rejected by the Supreme Court which ordered that the analogue switch off continue as scheduled by the CA.

The international switch off deadline is July 2015.

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