Kenya’s Supreme Court rules on digital migration

By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya

Kenya’s television viewers are expected to know today whether their analogue sets will be switched off.

The Supreme Court is currently making a ruling on a petition against the proposed switch from analogue to digital television broadcast.

The Supreme Court bench on the matter consists of Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, his deputy Lady Justice Kalpana Rawal, Judges Jackton Ojwang, Smokin Wanjala, Philip Tunoi, Njoki Ndung’u and Mohammed Ibrahim.

The petition, was filed at the High Court in October last year by the Nation Media Group, Royal Media Services and Standard Media Group

The fight for digital licences has gone through the three major court divisions with the final decision of the Supreme Court being awaited today.

The country had initially planned to switch off analogue at the beginning of 2012, but logistical challenges and inadequate distiribution of digital converters saw the process delayed.

Plans to effect the switch-off again on December 31 2012 were thwarted when Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK) a lobby group, went to court to stop the process.

Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK) argued that Kenyan consumers were not ready for the switch-off owing to the high cost of set-top-boxes (converters that enable analogue TV sets receive digital signals.)

The Supreme court’s decision will be final.

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