Members of the Africa Digital Network , KTN, NTV AND Citizen will still maintain their analogue signals after a seven-judge bench ruled that the ruling from last year in a case against the Communications Authority will remain as they deliberate and give a ruling later.
Last year, the two parties were directed to discuss and come up with a digital migration deadline and report back within 90 days to the court.
Holding brief for the alliance, Senior Counsel Paul Muite said that they want to be given Broadcast Signal Distribution (BSD) license, frequencies and enough time to get the equipment to migrate to the digital platform.
“We applied to the CA for the license on October 1; just three days after you gave your judgment. They gave us a single UHF frequency for Nairobi on December 15. And then they announced that they would be switching off analogue signals in Nairobi on December 31 despite acknowledging to us in a letter that setting up the necessary infrastructure takes time. And I’m glad my learned friend has himself admitted that those frequencies are required when ordering for transmitters,” Muite told the court,” said Muite.
Muite added that following disagreements with the CA, they were now asking for a May 30 date for digital migration instead of the earlier one which was April 30.
In defense of the CA infront of justices Willy Mutunga, Kalpana Rawal, Phillip Tunoi, Mohammed Ibrahim, Jackton Ojwang, Smokin Wanjala and Njoki Ndung’u, lawyer Peter Kilonzo said that the broadcasters refused to discuss a digital migration deadline until they were issued a Broadcast Signal Distribution (BSD) license saying it would be akin to putting the cart before the horse.
“What we have given you is sufficient for now, what you want is for the whole country, you cannot get for the whole country now, this is a phased approach as time goes you will get,” submitted Kilonzo.
Kilonzo also allegd that the broadcasters were preparing their studios for High Definition Television which will set them apart from their competitors.
Speaking on behalf of Chief Justice Mutunga, Lady justioce Kaplana Rawal said: “The interim ruling will be extended.”
The wars between the broadcasters and the CA in and outside court has been ongoing for sometime now resulting in confusing of consumers and now stakeholders among them the the Consumer Federation of Kenya are calling on the courts to set a definitive deadline for digital migration in order to avoid confusing consumers.