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Daily Nation : February 7th 2014
DAILY NATION Friday February 7, 2014 National News 9 TV SWITCH | Issuance of permits was discriminatory, lawyers tell Court of Appeal Media firms push for digital licences Companies deny claims they are opposed to migration from analogue to television signals BY PAUL OGEMBA @PaulOgemba email@example.com saying they only want to be treated fairly with their competitors. Nation Media Group, Royal Media T Services and Standard Media Group said their only concern is to get a share of the digital broadcasting licences and not to oppose the switch from analogue to television signals. The media houses, through lawyers Paul Muite and Kiragu Kimani, submitted that denying them the rights to have digital licences and frequencies while giving the same to their competitors is not only discriminatory but also an infringement of their right to freedom of expression. Discriminatory “The media houses’ case is very simple; they only want to be allowed to continue carrying out their programmes through the issuance of the digital licences and frequencies. What the government did was discriminatory in allowing their competitors to broadcast their work without their consent,” said Mr Muite. Mr Muite argued before a three- judge bench of the Court of Appeal that the case is not only about the rights of the media houses but also the right of Kenyans to receive information free of charge. He accused the government of going against the promise to protect the people’s rights by allowing pay-TV channels to take control of television broadcasts. “The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has not justified why they allowed new entrants to have exclusive rights to air the local stations’ programmes in total disregard of a recommendation that the existing media houses be considered for issuance of licences,” said Mr Muite. Mr Kiragu submitted that the de- cision to allow the pay-TV channels to re-broadcast programmes generated by the three media houses was an infringement on their intellectual property rights. He criticised the High Court for refusing to acknowledge property rights as enshrined in the Constitution. “The law demands equity, good governance and non-discrimination but what we have is clear violation of the Constitution, even after the three media houses proved at the High Court that their rights to own property was being violated,” said Mr hree leading media houses have denied claims they are opposed to migration to digital television broadcast, THE PROCESS How transition will take place 1 The switch from analogue to digital usually occurs in a phased transition process. both analogue and digital formats. 2 3 After a good number of people have migrated to digital, analogue transmissions stop. 4 Only the digital transmissions continue in a process called ‘analogue switch-off’. Kiragu. He denied suggestions that the media houses’ interest was only commercial, saying that the Constitution gives them the obligation to inform the public through free-to-air channels. He said the taskforce on migration from analogue to digital broadcast had recommended that there be a mechanism to ensure existing media houses’ Once the transmissions begin, existing television services are broadcast in PAUL WAWERU | NATION From left: Lawyers Philip Murgor, Issa Mansur and Paul Muite consulting before the hearing of an appeal by the Nation Media Group, Royal Media Services and Standard Media Group In Nairobi yesterday. investments do not go to waste but that what the High Court did was to rule on the opposite. “The government had promised to consider the position and the investment of the appellants but what happened is the exact opposite. The three media houses are not asking for any preferential treatment but just to be treated the same way as the others and be issued with licences under any condition,” said Mr Kiragu. High Court judge David Majanja in December last year ruled that the media houses are not entitled to digital broadcast licences on the basis of their established status and dismissed claims that CCK had allowed pay-Tv channels to violate local media stations’ intellectual property rights. BRIEFLY KIRINYAGA Mob lynches man accused of stealing A suspected criminal was yes- terday killed by a mob upon his release from a police station in Kirinyaga. Mr John Irungu, 24, who had been accused of breaking into shops and stealing property, succumbed to stab injuries inflicted by a mob in Baricho Village. County police commander Christine Mutua said they released the suspect after traders failed to record statements. She vowed to arrest the killers. NAKURU Baby boy burns to death in house fire A one-year-old baby boy burned to death after his parents’ kitchen went up in flames at Makongeni Village in Rongai. The house caught fire as the baby’s mother was milking a cow outside, villagers said. The woman succeeded to save their threeyear-old child before the grassthatched roof caved in. Police took the body to the mortuary. NAIROBI Varsity sets up centre to teach business skills Mount Kenya University has launched an enterprise academy to enable students to become self-employed and create jobs. The centre, with an initial 10 students, was officially launched by National Handicapped Fund chairperson Kristine Wambui Kenyatta. The university has funded the students to the tune of Sh800,000 each to help set up their companies. The 10 will undergo a three-month course.
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