You may have seen the infomercial in the 4 media stations (KTN, NTV, QTV and Citizen) about GOtv and Star times broadcasting their content without their consent and stating that what GOtv is doing is illegal.
In the continuing soap drama of the media stations trying to blame everybody but themselves for not being ready for the digital migration, this is a new twist.
GOtv says that it is operating within the confines of the laws of Kenya. They are broadcasting these stations among others, according to a ‘must carry’ obligation imposed by Regulation 14 (2) (b) of the Kenya Information and Communications (Broadcasting) Regulations 2009, whose objective is to ensure that the public has access to information.
According to a statement GOtv has released the Supreme Court, in Supreme Court of Kenya at Nairobi Petition No.14 of 2014 Communications Commission of Kenya & 5 others v Royal Media Services Limited & 5 others by judgment delivered on 29th September 2014, affirmed that the ‘must carry’ rule does not infringe on the broadcasters’ copyright.
GOtv offers all the local (free to air) channels and a banquet of other channels including Pay TV. It was the first provider in Kenya to launch the DVB-T2 (digital video broadcasting – second generation Terrestrial) technology 3 years ago.
GOtv has said that it will take the media stations to court over defamation. The media stations had also said that they would be taking GOtv and Star times to court over airing the content without their consent. This will be a very interesting battle to watch.
The 3 main media stations are getting ready to launch their own free to air boxes. This comes at a time when Nairobi has already digitally migrated. The 2nd phase of the digital migration is supposed to be in February. It would be interesting to see the uptake of those devices considering that they are coming into the market pretty late into the game.
The digital migration has had its ups and downs with the process being delayed when the 3 media stations went to court to block it. One year later they are still at it fighting the Communications Authority of Kenya. Now it seems they are also gunning for the pay TV providers. The battles are far from over and it seems things are only getting hotter. Let us see how the battle will play out in court.