TV stations slapped with Sh500,000 fine
Three local media houses have been given seven days to pay a penalty of Sh500,000 if they want to get back their suspended digital broadcast licence.
Communication Authority of Kenya announced the tough penalty on Friday against Nation Media Group, Standard Group and Royal Media Services.
They must also apply for type approval of their free-to-air set-top boxes and commit not to carry what the authority terms as ‘selective and misleading advertisements’ in their channels.
A statement read by the authority’s board chairman Mr Ben Gituku also defended two pay TV channels that the three media houses accuse of carrying their content without permission.
The statement said that the authority’s board agreed to lift the suspension and resume processing of the licence only after the three media houses meet the four conditions within seven days.
The authority’s Director-General Francis Wangusi said the conditions for the return of the provisional licence will not be negotiated.
Mr Wangusi said that the third Broadcast Signal Distribution licence will be awarded through an open tender that will also involve foreign bidders.
The three media houses control over 80 per cent of local audience. Deputy President William Ruto has asked for priority to be given to local investors in the issuance of the third licence.
Asked if the authority had local investors’ interest at heart, Mr Wangusi wondered why the three media houses can’t go and invest in other countries.
He further faulted the request for more time by the three media house, noting that the whole country was ready for migration.
The authority also said it had summoned the managements of KBC and K24 TV for reversing to analogue broadcast without permission. Also warned were pay TV service providers who charge to broadcast free-to-air channels.