Kenya’s local broadcasting stations (KTN, NTV, QTV and Citizen) have laid allegations against GOtv & StarTimes for airing their content without consent. The four Free-To-Air stations aired an infomercial warning their viewers not to purchase the two digital cable provider’s set top boxes.

GOtv & StarTimes denied the allegations. According to them, they were only operating within the stated Laws of Kenya: the ‘Must carry’ obligation imposed by Regulation 14 (2) (b) of the Kenya Information and Communications (Broadcasting) Regulations 2009, whose objective is to ensure that the public has access to information.

The ‘must carry’ rule states that locally licensed television stations must be carried on a cable provider’s system. This rule does not infringe on the copyright of the broadcasters according to a statement released by Supreme Court of Kenya, 29th September 2014.

Felix Kyengo General Manager GOtv said that, “The latest infomercial is not only defamatory of GOtv, misleading to the public but also contemptuous of the court finding stated above. GOtv shall move to court for appropriate redress”.

Alex Mwaura Public Relations Manager, StarTimes Media also said that, “Our set top boxes are tailored to give Kenyans a choice as to opt for either the Pay TV or the Free To Air option based on their personal preference. Kenyans should be allowed the freedom to choose as opposed to imposing untested devices for such a significant transition that is digital migration”.

The bandying of information from the Pay Tv and the Free To Air broadcasters continues to confuse viewers and they hope they would not be required to have two set top boxes in their homes.

Bolade Popoola Author

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