3 reasons why Citizen TV could still be off air

The government switched off Citizen TV on Tuesday last week.

The State on Monday reinstated signals on both DSTv and GoTV channels (on pay to air), but failed to switch on the SK Macharia-owned Kikuyu language Inooro TV and bilingual Citizen TV, despite a court order. Meanwhile, the ADN station in Limuru is still locked with a heavy police presence.

Speculations, however, were rife that the pending case in High Court in which Mr Macharia sought an injunction of the government’s decision to shut the two channels without prior notice, could be the issue at hand.

On Thursday last week, Royal Media Services and the Africa Digital Networks (ADN) filed a certificate of urgency case against the government protesting the shutdown, after the government said it “was aiding in committing a crime through broadcasting live the illegal swearing-in of Raila Odinga.”

In a petition which was heard on Friday, February 2, the media house wanted the court to restrain the government from entering or being on their premises in Limuru. The applicants also wanted an order barring the state from placing any padlock on their transmission room in Limuru.

Through lawyer Gibson Kuria Kamau, Royal Media pleaded that the government had greatly damaged its broadcasting business and caused it to breach contracts entered into with third parties for advertising goods.

Similarly, the media house noted that the respondents (government) had put into jeopardy not only the media house investments worth millions but also jobs of its over 1,000 employees.

In the affidavit sworn by RMS Chairman Dr. SK Macharia,and ADN said the government illegally and forcibly took possession of their TV broadcasting installation and have remained in possession of the same.

On Monday night, however, the BBC’s Focus on Africa reported of two scenarios, prominent being the case which is pending in court and that it might have irked “the government to wait for its verdict before it implements any additional order.”

Nation Media’s NTV, however, in a bulletin on Monday revealed that the major cause for the off air of the competitor stations was due to the ADN transmission system which has been shut down. NTV is not also available on ADN, a free to air carrier.

The Tuesday last week media shutdown has attracted criticism from all quarters of the political and diplomatic divide, with Raila Odinga led NRM claiming that the switch off of Citizen TV was a ploy for targeting the channel for its ‘purported support to the Opposition.’

“So Citizen TV is not back on air because it belongs to an independent minded Kenyan who refused to tow the tribal line. Nation is for Aga Khan (who surrendered his home to Snr Kenyatta, now Uhuru's home; KTN News belongs to Moi,” Nasa said in a statement via twitter, minutes after KTN News and NTV were switched off.

Government switches some media house back on air

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