3 January 2013

Kenya: FM Stations to Install Frequency Filters

Parliament has adopted a report that compels FM stations to install suitable band pass filters to prevent interference with aeronautical equipment in the Kenyan airspace.

FM stations now have 30 days to install the filters, which must be approved by Communications Commission of Kenya.

CCK must also ensure that power transmitted by local radio stations is within the approved limits and no station interferes with the frequencies of another station. The report was prepared by the joint committee on Energy, Communications and Information and the House Broadcasting Committee. It was tabled in the House last October.

The joint committee notes that reasons for the interference with the equipment was due to absence of band pass filters, installation of non-type approved FM transmitters which broadcast from non designated sites and transmitting beyond the maximum authorized radiated power.

"CCK should enforce compliance with the transmission parameters as specified in each broadcaster's license and enforce penalties as provided by law," says the report.

The report further mandates CCK to conduct countrywide radio monitoring and surveillance exercise with the next 30 days to determine the level of compliance.

During the debate yesterday, MPs Charles Keter and Aden Duale expressed fears for the safety of aircraft operating within the Kenya airspace and warned that it was disaster in the waiting.

"Kenya airspace is in danger. Instead of listening to the control tower, pilots are listening to FM stations because of the interference with navigation instruments," said Duale. The Dujis MPs accused Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka of interfering with the work of CCK as far as airwaves are concerned. The report further faults Information PS, Bitange Ndemo for failing to discharge his duties diligently despite serving in the ministry for a long time.

The committee wants him to take responsibility and make a report to Parliament within 30 days on his policy actions and the results therein.

"The relevant Parliamentary committee should be furnished with a copy of the status report once the exercise is complete," it added.

On August 7, Kilome MP Harun Mwau sought an explanation from the minister for Information, Samuel Poghisio on complaints that some local radio stations are interfering with local and international avionics frequencies.

The minister did not give an answer forcing Speaker Kenneth Marende to refer the matter to a joint committee.

Avionic systems include communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems, and the hundreds of systems that are fitted to aircraft to perform individual functions.

The report further state that all broadcasters should within 30 days relocate to the designated transmission sites.

"CCK should enforce compliance with the transmission parameters as specified in each broadcaster's license and enforce penalties as provided for by law," says the report.

The report also notes there are genuine applicants who have not been allocated frequencies yet they ought to be allocated.

"The PS ministry of Information has failed to discharge his duties diligently despite the fact that he has served in the same ministry for a long time," adds the report.

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