February 17, 2020

TV stations back on air, Citizen TV remains shut

TV stations are back on air after a seven day shutdown.

NTV Kenya and KTN News are back on air after the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) switched back their transmission signals on Monday (5/2/17).

Citizen TV, Inooro TV and Radio Citizen, however, remain shut.

Royal Media Services (RMS) Chairman SK Macharia had sued the State over the shutdown.

Mr Macharia wanted the State to pay compensation and get a court order barring interference with the company’s broadcast sites.

It is estimated that the stations were losing close to Sh30 million in advertising revenues per day.

The stations were closed following their ‘defiance’ to follow an alleged order from President Uhuru Kenyatta restricting the live coverage of the controversial ‘swearing-in’ ceremony of Raila Odinga as the people’s president.

In a press briefing last week, Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i maintained that the switch-off of the media houses would remain in place until investigations into NASA’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) activities had been concluded.

“Media owners and all relevant actors had been given a full security situation brief well ahead of the illegal activities of NASA. Unfortunately, some media houses chose to disregard this advice, their own code of ethics, self- regulations and moral responsibility to every Kenyan to safeguard security of their fellow citizens,” The CS stated at Harambee House.

The former Education CS further noted that coverage by the media would have led to incitement and a ‘massacre of catastrophic proportions’ was going to happen.

“The Government’s responsibility is to protect the lives of people. We are committed to the rule of law,” Matiang’i said.

The High Court, however, on Thursday suspended the Government’s directive to shut down the TV stations in the country pending a full hearing of the case that was filed by Activist Okiya Omtatah.

Judge Chacha Mwita ordered CA to restore live transmission for the stations.

He also barred the State from interfering with the signals of the various TV stations.

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