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Daily Nation : February 13th 2014
DAILY NATION Thursday February 13, 2014 DIGITAL MIGRATION | Judges extend orders that barred CCK from effecting broadcast shift TV switch-off halted till March Relief for analogue television set owners as court postpones broadcast shift by one more month BY PAUL OGEMBA @PaulOgemba firstname.lastname@example.org T elevision viewers have been granted further relief after the Court of Appeal stopped the government from switching off analogue television broadcasts for another 30 days. Appellate Judges Roselyn Nambuye, David Maraga and Daniel Musinga restrained the Communication Commission of Kenya from implementing the migration from analogue to digital television broadcast, on grounds that a switch at this stage may prejudice the outcome of a case by three leading media houses. “In the circumstances, we extend the orders barring the CCK from switching off analogue television signals until we give a judgment of the appeal on March 14,” said the judges. The hearing of a dispute They gave the directive at the end of the hearing of a dispute in which the Nation Media Group, Royal Media Services and Standard Media Group put up a spirited fight to have the government compelled to issue them with digital broadcasting licenses and frequencies. Lawyers representing the media houses accused the government of going against its own policy and recommendations on digital migration and violating media freedoms and rights. Lawyer Ochieng Oduol submitted that the government went against an agreement with broadcasters that no party was entitled to broadcast the content of others without their consent. There was no justification why the media houses could not be issued with a digital licence, he argued. “It is the reason why we approach National News 3 Central Bank boss seeks to block arrest over Sh1.2bn BY NATION CORRESPONDENT Central Bank Governor Njuguna Ndung’u yesterday asked a court to stop his arrest over alleged corruption. He said that he was not directly involved in the awarding of Sh1.2 billion tender for the Central Bank. Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi set the hearing for February 14. Prof Ndung’u (below) and other senior bank officials are wanted over alleged abuse of office for failing to comply with public procurement regulations, leading to the loss of Sh400 million. PAUL WAWERU | NATION Lawyer Ochieng Oduol (left) for media houses and deputy chief litigation counsel Mwangi Njoroge, for the Attorney-General, make submissions at the Court of Appeal yesterday. Judges postponed digital TV migration by another one month. the court to exercise its jurisdiction to correct what the government did wrong,” submitted the lawyer, who is part of the team representing the media companies. “The media houses have proved the violations and it is for the court to clean the way by giving returning those rights.” On claims that the organisations did not pursue a redress of the procurement board’s rejection their bid, Mr Oduol submitted that the issue was still alive and nothing stops the court from overturning that decision. Senior counsel Paul Muite argued that it was contradictory for the government to claim that the digital policy separated licensing from content provision when it allowed competitors of the three media houses to do both. “They say that if you are a content provider then you are not entitled to digital license. It is exactly what we are complaining about since one of the providers is wholly owned by the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and which is in direct competition with the three media houses,” said Muite. Lawyer Issa Mansur faulted the government on its “selective application” of the policy on digital migration, saying licences were issued in a discriminatory manner. “The policy was to allow Kenyans to own at least 30 per cent shares of the licences and frequencies allocated, but what we have is total allocation to foreign companies,” said Mansur. He submitted that the media houses were ready to roll out the digital signal broadcast if given the opportunity and that they would comply with any conditions attached to the distribution licence. The Attorney-General opposes the submissions, arguing that the Constitution does not give an absolute right to the media houses to have digital licenses and frequencies. Through state counsel Mwangi Njoroge, the AG argued that the government had considered the rights of consumers by zero-rating duty on digital set-top boxes. He argued that everyone was in- We extend the orders barring the CCK from switching off analogue television signals until we give a judgment of the appeal on March 14” Court of Appeal judges volved and the media houses could not claim that any of them was left out fraudulently. “Their allegations of fraud and bribery are unfounded since they are not backed by any evidence,” said Mr Njoroge. He added, even if the government ceded ground, it would be difficult to ensure all media houses placed a joint bid for the tender. Bank officials have been accused of awarding De La Rue company exclusive currency printing contracts in non-competitive terms costing taxpayers billions of shillings. On Monday Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission detectives unsuccessful tried to arrest Prof Ndung’u following Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko’s order for his arrest. Prof Ndun’gu was said to be out of the country and returns on Friday when his case will be heard. Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee last year found that the bank had irregularly awarded De La Rue currency printing contracts. The committee found that the bank had entered into another 10-year contract with De La Rue without any competitive tendering as required by law.
February 12th 2014
February 14th 2014