Kenya media cautioned on lies about Digital Migration

While some media in Kenya have resorted to running misleading information headlines about the digital migration deadlines, the country’s Communications Authority is tightening its noose around media houses that are failing to meet deadlines.

Officials at an awareness march, Promoting Digital Migration in Kenya recently.
Officials at an awareness march, Promoting Digital Migration in Kenya recently.

In a statement released this week, the Communications Authority of Kenya noted with concern, misleading reports published in some local media that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) had allowed some African countries to extend their digital migration deadlines beyond the 17th June, 2015.

The statement published by Francis Wangusi – Director-General
Communications Authority of Kenya, said the reports are not only erroneous but are misleading as the perpetrators have not produced any evidence of such an action by ITU.

The Authority cautioned Kenyans to disregard the misleading and untrue reports that it said were clearly targeted at creating confusion and sabotaging the digital migration process.

The Supreme Court of Kenya in its decision of 13th February 2015, directed that the analogue switch-off timelines remain as scheduled by the Communications Authority of Kenya following consultation with stakeholders. This affected several parts of the countries as they realised a black out on TV broadcasts from some affected TV stations.

“In any case, the procedure for amending Geneva 2006 (GE-06) Agreement is very well laid out. An amendment to the GE-06, which set the digital migration deadlines, cannot be undertaken unless it is done through a conference involving all the countries that signed the GE-06 Agreement,” Wangutusi’s statement said.

He clarified that the deadline as per the GE-06 is as follows:
Application of the Agreement
a) The Geneva 2006 (GE-06) Agreement came into force on 17th June, 2007. The Agreement set the digital migration deadline of 17th June, 2015 except for those countries that requested for extension in the VHF band.
b) During the Regional Radio Conference of 2006 (RRC-06), some countries made specific requests for an extension of the deadline to 17th June, 2020 but only in the VHF Band (174-230 MHz) since most of their TV stations were operating in the VHF (as opposed to UHF) frequency band. Other countries not present at the conference, agreed to the extended deadline by virtue of their non-response to the ITU within 90 days of the conference on their intention to select the 17 June, 2015 deadline. The countries were listed as part of the agreement in a footnote.

The affected countries are: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Iran, Jordan, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Nigeria, Syrian Arab Republic, Sudan, Chad, Togo, Tunisia, Yemen,Benin, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar, Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, and Somalia.

c) All requests for extension of the deadline for the VHF Band were made 9 years ago by the member countries present at the RRC-06. Kenya attended the meeting and did not make any such request. Those countries that did not attend the conference had 90 days to make the request. This did not apply to Kenya.

Procedure for Revision of the GE-06 Agreement
The GE-06 (Article 11) is clear that no revision of the Agreement shall be undertaken except by a competent regional radiocommunication conference convened in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Constitution and Convention of the ITU.

This conference only takes place on condition that all the Member States in the Planning Area (ITU Region 1) are invited. The Planning Area consists of Africa, Western and Eastern Europe, the Arab States and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

As a Member State of the ITU, Kenya is not aware of any meeting that has been convened by the ITU in accordance with the laid down procedures to amend the digital migration deadlines,” said Wangutusi’s statement.

He cautioned the media houses media houses propagating lies on digital migration to stop forthwith and join other Kenyans in working together to ensure the benefits that digital TV brings is enjoyed by all.