Withdraw Pang licence, says Chris Kirubi

Tuesday March 3 2015

An empty NTV studio on February 14, 2015 after the Communications Authority of Kenya shut down the analogue transmitters of NTV, QTV, KTN and Citizen TV.

An empty NTV studio on February 14, 2015 after the Communications Authority of Kenya shut down the analogue transmitters of NTV, QTV, KTN and Citizen TV. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JOHN NGIRACHU
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Capital Group chairman Chris Kirubi has claimed the entire digital migration process was mismanaged and called for Pan Africa Network Group's licence to be withdrawn

Media companies that have migrated to the digital platform, as the Digital Broadcasters Association, told the National Assembly's Energy, Information and Communication Committee that the China-owned Pang and the government's Signet are charging them too much.

According to Mr Kirubi, the current impasse between the Nation Media Group, Standard Group and Royal Media Services is a result of the manner in which digital migration was handled.

“We should have looked at what is best for media. An independent person was needed so that we could seamlessly transfer from analogue to digital,” he said.

Stating that “content is king”, Mr Kirubi said TV audiences had fallen by half since the botched migration took place.

“If you have to take my content and benefit from it, I think you should have to pay for it,” said Mr Kirubi.

“I personally think that if we did not have Pang and we just had Signet, there would not be a hullabaloo. A transmission authority is needed. You need to withdraw the licence of Pang.

“It is very easy to form another body where all of us are members, including KBC,” said Mr Kirubi.

Fountain Media managing director Bedan Mbugua said the digital signal carriers were charging Sh1 million for nationwide transmission and Sh321,000 for transmission in and around Nairobi.

“In Signet, all broadcasters have a share, so that you’re not able to kill anyone. The carrier should be independent so that it can be fair,” said Mr Mbugua, adding that some companies had taken loans to meet costs and may be forced to close if the rates were not lowered.

However, Mediamax CEO Ian Fernandes said the Sh1 million fee is lower than what the company used to maintain their analogue transmitters.