Digital migration will strengthen public broadcaster – Ivorian minister

By Issa Sikiti da Silva, Ivory Coast

Digital migration in Ivory Coast will strengthen the public broadcaster, and provide a better management of broadcasting frequencies and facilitate the transfer of ICTs and multimedia on TV, an Ivorian minister said early this week.

Established in 1962 and seen by many critics as a government propaganda machine, Radiodiffusion-Télévision Ivorienne (RTI) is Ivory Coast’s public broadcaster.

Bruno Koné Nabagné, post and ICT minister, said: "RTI is our national broadcaster. We will not forget it.”

He insisted that the state will ensure that the technological opening process did not have a negative impact on the public broadcaster.

Nabagné told a press conference in the commercial capital Abidjan that the digital migration will help RTI get exciting bouquets and give it the much-needed means and resources to empower it to become more competitive.

RTI has three channels RTI1, RTI2, TV Bouaké, Radio Bouaké, Radio Cote d’Ivoire and Radio Fréquence2.

Bouaké, located at the centre of the country at some 350 km from Abidjan, is Ivory Coast’s second-biggest city.

The digital migration process in Ivory Coast has also brought some controversy, with struggling entrepreneurs and ordinary citizens lambasting the government for banning the import of analogue TV sets deemed unfit for digital broadcasting.

But the state would not budge. Nabagné, who is also the government spokesperson, said: “We have no intention to start tracking TV sets in the marketplaces, but we will continue blocking the entry of non-compatible TV in Ivory Coast."

As time flies and the ITU deadline of 17 June 2015 draws near, a cautious Nabagné declined to give an exact date for his country’s readiness for digital broadcasting.

He said however that the government was doing whatever it can to catch up with the delays, and he reassured the public that come the deadline, at least one part of the country will start receiving digital TV.

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