The latest entrant into the digital migration debate is the ICT Association of Kenya which is now calling for a logical, systematic and methodical execution of the process in place of the haphazardness that hopelessly destroys a media ecosystem that has taken ages to evolve.
In a statement, ICTAK Secretary General Kamotho Njenga said It is common knowledge that as a signatory to the ITU treaty Kenya should migrate from analogue to digital by June 2015 but the militarized approach adopted so far has obscured the noble outcomes for which digital migration was conceived.
He added that the Supreme Court judgment pitting the Communications Authority and the media houses over the digital migration process was supposed to resolve the perennial Broadcast Signal Distribution licensing dispute.
“ Upon delivery of the judgment expectations were that the parties would meet to amicably implement the ruling of the court in view of the various contested issues. Surprisingly, even before certified copies of judgment were released, a furious offensive was launched against the transmission facilities of the three lead broadcasters,” he said.
“There is purely no justification as to why without any notice, officials from the CAK, accompanied by armed policemen had to force their way into the transmission stations of the three lead media houses in Limuru, on a weekend to vandalize their transmission equipment. Unfortunately, rather than provide leadership to resolve this embarrassing stalemate emanating from policy failure at the ministry level, the ICT Cabinet Secretary, Dr Fred Matiangi has resorted to his usual chest thumping and antagonistic antics,” he added.
Njenga opined that numerous genuine concerns have been credibly raised by the affected media houses and they require consideration rather than a casual dismissal. Further, migration from the analogue to the digital platforms naturally gives rise to technical and logistical implications which require time to address.
“We call upon the CAK and the ICT Ministry to cease the authoritarianism and the vindictiveness so that moving forward focus shift towards finding a sustainable solution to the matters in dispute. Parliament will also need to amend the Kenya Information and Communications Act by enacting clauses to govern allocation of spectrum in a manner that safeguards national interests,” said Njenga.
It is now six days since three media houses went off fair sparking various reactions from viewers, journalists and other stakeholders. The government remains adamant that the migration will still continue while the media houses remain off air citing lack of the licenses to operate on the digital platform.