, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – Leaders have condemned the closure of four TV stations which failed to migrate to the digital signal by the set deadline of Saturday.
Coalition for Reforms and Democracy leader Raila Odinga, his co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka and Amani leader Musalia Mudavadi said the media houses should have been given more time to acquire their set top boxes before closure.
“The Jubilee regime has thrown the entire country into information darkness. Those with no access to the expensive pay TV will never know what is going on in government and with fellow citizens,” Odinga said, and accused the government of “unwillingness to arbitrate between a foreign firm and local, home grown media houses over the distribution of digital frequency signals.”
Kalonzo while acknowledging the independency of the judicial institution said the action to switch off the leading media houses was in “bad faith and not respectable of the local investors.”
The action sparked mixed reactions on social media, with others accusing the TV stations of dragging their feet for too long because they had been given a deadline.”
“Of course we missed our programmes, it is quite boring. But I m still wondering why they had to be switched off just like that. But still did the TV stations do something about it when they were told they would be switched off,” a viewer expressed concerns on Facebook.
NTV, KTN, CITIZEN and QTV remained closed on Sunday after officials from the Communications Authority turned off their transmitters in Limuru shortly after 1 pm Saturday.
Reporters from some of the TV stations switched off told Capital FM News that they had been asked to go home until further notice.
“We have been told to go home because there is nothing we are doing in the newsroom,” one TV reporter who had gone to interview Kenyans on Valentines Day said.
Soon after the switch-off, DSTV put a statement on twitter urging viewers interested in news to watch other channels.
” Dear subscribers, please be advised that Citizen, KTN, NTV and QTV have terminated their channels on all available platforms resulting in the loss of signal. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience. For news and local programming please go to any of the Maisha Magic channels, K24, KBC or Kiss,” the short statement on twitter said.
Information Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i was set to issue a statement on the matter later Sunday.