4 February 2013

Kenya: CCK Plans Criminal Case Against Royal Media Bosses

Nairobi — The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) on Monday said it was planning to file criminal proceedings against the proprietors of Royal Media Services for allegedly using unlicensed transmitters.

The Commission's Secretary John Omo in an affidavit said the CCK will use the transmission equipment seized as evidence against the broadcast firm owned by media mogul S.K. Macharia. He explained that the media house can therefore not re-install the transmitters.

Royal Media Services is alleged to have been operating 17 radio transmitters illegally.

Royal Media Services is on the other hand accusing the communications commission of switching off the transmitters which were the subject of court proceedings.

In a paid up advertisement appearing in local dailies on Monday, the commission however said it only switched off transmitters which the station had allocated itself and which were interfering with the aviation spectrum.

At the weekend, CCK shut down 17 broadcast transmitters belonging to Royal Media Services that it said were operating illegally.

CCK Director General Francis Wangusi said the transmitters operating in Narok, Menengai, Mukuyuni, Nanyuki, Embu, Taveta, Muranga, Migori, Sotik, Mwingi, and Malindi were operating without licenses.

He also explained that the stations were closed because they posed a risk to the aviation industry.

According to the commission, the 17 transmitters have been operating on self-assigned or 'grabbed' frequencies.

CCK has also announced that it intends to shut 11 more stations operating illegally in various parts of the country.

The action to shut down the illegal stations was also as result of complaints received from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and some airlines about threats to the safety of the country's airspace due to interference emanating from illegal transmitters.

Wangusi stated that in practice, frequency licenses come with conditions which operators are required to adhere to.

Royal Media Services has already moved to court and obtained a temporary injunction stopping the actions of the CCK.

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