Over the years, Kenya’s telecommunications infrastructure and media industry has grown to a level capable of delivering efficient and affordable info-communications services, with about three telecommunication operators and multiple media houses, the growth is recognized as a critical pre-requisite for the country’s economic growth.
Following the stability attained, there is need for governing which is why the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is responsible for the development and implementation of policies and strategies with respect to telecommunications services in Kenya. The authority overlooks licencing, competition, consumer protection, Promotion of investment and provision of international transit services among other mandates.
With the recent feud between Media houses and the authority body, licensing has been the most pronounced mandate by CA. Before Kenya joined the community of nations that have successfully migrated from analogue to digital television broadcasting, whose deadline was June, 17th, 2015 at 2359hrs, the media industry underwent quite a number of hustles with the Authority that included forceful shutdown of signals and endless court sessions over the issue of licensing.
Financial constraints, lack of political will and industry resistance decked many jurisdictions associated with digital migration but was finally resolved with issuance of a dual licencing environment.
In a historic event, the communications Authority will be issuing the first TV licenses in the aftermath of the digital migration process, setting in motion the process of bringing players in the broadcasting market under CA’s regulatory regime as provided for under the ICT sector law.
The dual license in which the broadcasters have been operating in limits the authority’s mandate in broadcasting to planning and assignment of frequency whereas ministry responsible for information has been issuing permits to the players.
After license issuance, the Communications Authority will fully be in control of the broadcasters in respect to its mandate. on the other hand, the media will honour Section 46C of the Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998, it is illegal to provide any form of broadcasting service in Kenya without a license. Contravention of this law attracts a fine not exceeding Kshs. 1, 000,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.