The High Court has stopped CCK from terminating the licenses of radio and TV stations which would not have made applications for their licenses to be renewed. See that stupidity from the Kenyan media owners. On 10th November, CCK threatened to switch off radio and TV stations which would not have applied for the new licenses by 15th November (today).
The new regime licenses were announced one year ago and all the media owners in Kenya were informed of the need to acquired the new licenses. They were then reminded on August 5th of the need to renew the licenses before the November 15th date. Now the media owners are actually exposing their kind of stupidity by, instead of applying for the new licenses, going to court to beg for more time.
The new licenses are divided as follows;
- Public Broadcasting
- Commercial Broadcasting
- Community Broadcasting
- Subscription Broadcasting
- Signal distribution.
The media owners tried to rope CIC into the issue and even made CIC declare the CCK Public notice as a “violation of the constitution”. The funny bit is that 75% of the more than 105 media entities in Kenya have already submitted the application as of 10th November. The Media owners going to court are not making sense unless the owners of the 75% of the media entities which have applied for the new licenses are not members of the MOA.
The same group of media, now Nation Media Group and Royal Media, launched a string of campaigns against CCK, Dr Ndemo and Ministry of Information and Communication regarding the award of the digital signal distribution license to a company with Chinese shareholding. After that CCK saw it best even to modify the procurement rules to allow the media groups get a third license. The condition was that they form a company which they were to present to CCK for the same. Three months later, they are not being heard and CCK does not even know whether they formed the company or not.
I asked CCK Director general, Francis Wangusi, why they had to bend procurement rules and if the rules can be so easily bended. His response was that the government created the rules and its is the same which can bend them. I asked who is “the government here” since the procurement rules were created through an act of parliament. It needs parliament again to bend the rules I guess.
It is true that the new constitution calls for the formation of an independent body to regulate media in Kenya but a media consultant argues “you can not suspend the laws of a country when such body has not come into place”.
“This is tyranny of the Kenyan media. Even the issue of signal distribution can be successfully challenged in court. The Kenyan media scene is so uneven and the anarchy used to run it is wrong. They get away with so many illegalities” , the consultant adds.
I am just ashamed of the Kenyan media.