Advanced Television

StarTimes Congo back on air

September 17, 2014

By Chris Forrester

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has allowed StarTimes Group to resume broadcasts in the vast country. Local reports say that the China-backed pay-TV operator has been “paroled” by President Joseph Kabila.

Three top government officials last week ordered ARPTC, the regulator, to suspend temporarily the Chinese broadcaster’s operations in the DRC pending further investigation and a court case on the company’s legitimacy and the issue of frequencies.

But one week later, the president, through the director of his office Gustave Beya Siku, overruled the Prime Minister and the ministers of media and communications and his colleague of posts-telecoms and ICTs, ordering that StarTimes should reopen its doors.

Reportedly Siku wrote a strongly-worded letter to the minister who started it all, Kin-Kiey Mulumba, and in the words of one local news report “crashing in his face and telling him straight that the regulator had no moral authority to suspend StarTimes”.

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