Kenya revokes local licences

Three Kenyan broadcasters are having their digital TV licences revoked, and the frequencies confiscated because they have allegedly been broadcasting misleading advertising on the platforms owned and operated by Chinese-backed StarTimes and Multichoice’s GOtv pay-TV operations.

The three local broadcasters are each major media players locally, and include Royal Media Services, Nation Media Group and Standard Group. They are being accused of running a TV infomercial advising consumers against purchasing GOtv and StarTimes set-top boxes and implying that the two pay-TV broadcasters are carrying their content without consent.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) has described the infomercials as “misleading” advertising. Moreover, the regulator says the frequencies are being withdrawn with “immediate effect”.

CAK director general Francis Wangusi said the CAK shall repossess the frequency spectrum resources allocated. He said the suspension must await a final ruling by the CAK and its board on the violations by the broadcasters concerned. Wangusi argued that the tone of the advertising, its overall content and timing is intended to cause confusion in the market.

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