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PS warned against remarks on digital TV switch case

NAIROBI
By - | December 18th 2012

By Lucianne Limo

The High Court has cautioned Information and Communication Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo against commenting on a case seeking to postpone switch from analogue to digital television.

Justice Isaac Lenaola directed Ndemo to desist from commenting on the case on his Facebook and Twitter pages until the case is determined.

“The PS comments in social media has come to my attention. He should know the correct forum to respond to the matter is by filing application to reply to the suit against them,” Lenaola added.

The judge further asked the respondents to reply to the case and appear before the court for hearing on Thursday.

Temporary orders

Last week, Lenaola declined to issue temporary orders stopping the Government from switching off analogue television signal transmission until 2015, which is the global deadline.

The judge, however, certified the case urgent and asked the applicants — Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) — to serve the respondents and appear before him on Monday (yesterday).

Cofek had filed a suit in court seeking to bar Information and Communications minister, Attorney General and Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) from switching off analogue TV signal in Nairobi and any other part of the country pending the hearing and determination of the case.

The respondents, the petitioner claims, has threatened to switch off analogue TV signal transmission in Nairobi on December 31 contrary to global deadline of 2015.

The petitioner contends that the notice is too short and inappropriate considering that it will come during the festive season and reopening of schools.

“The move is unreasonable and expensive to consumers most of whom do not have sufficient funds to purchase the required set-top boxes to shift to digital television frequency by December 31,” Cofek added.

set-top boxes expensive

Cofek noted that the migration will lock out millions of Kenyans from following civic education and other important matters related to next year’s General Election.

“The decision contravenes provisions of articles 10, 27 and 35 of the Constitution as it discriminates against individuals who cannot afford set-top boxes estimated to cost between Sh2,500 and Sh5,300,” said Cofek.

The petitioner pointed out that argument by respondents that further delay to switch off will be too expensive to the investors confirms that they are unfairly protecting the private sector at the expense of consumers.

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