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Kenya's broadcasting battle intensifies

Kenya's broadcasting battle intensifies.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has repossessed the digital broadcasting licence given to Standard Group, Nation Media Group and Royal Media Group following their advert that warned customers not to buy GOTV and Startimes decoders.

The Authority has vehemently condemned the move by the three broadcasters and called the advert "misleading" and said it goes against last year's ruling that compels pay TV to carry free-to-air channels.

In a bid to restore order, CA rebuffed claims that GOTV and Startimes are broadcasting the free-to-air channels illegally.

"The digital migration framework allows for the distribution of the 'Free-to-Air' signals on the digital platform under the "must-carry principle". This was supported by the ruling of the Supreme Court of Kenya in September 2014," the authority said.

"In view of these gross violations by the three media houses as enumerated above, the Authority has decided to take the following administrative actions: Withdraw the temporary authorization granted to the consortium by the three media houses (under the consortium identified as Africa Digital Network). Subsequently the Authority shall repossess the frequency spectrum resources allocated with immediate effect," the authority decreed.

The consortium also suffered another blow as the Authority ruled that they will block the importation of set top boxes that were to be in the country by end of January. This will be done in collaboration between the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

CA says that it will investigate the "cartel" behaviour by some of the players in the sector and take "regulatory remedies".

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