By MK Evan
Kenyans wishing to follow the Uhuru Park proceedings were on Tuesday forced to seek alternative ways as the Communications Authority of Kenya CA shut down main stream televisions for broadcasting live proceedings from Uhuru Park.
Citizen TV and Inooro TV went off air the first earlier in the morning when Citizen TV linked it’s reporter Stephen Letoo live from Uhuru Park ahead of Opposition leader Raila Odinga's inauguration. The switch off affected all the Tvs and Radio stations under the Royal Media.
The Royal Media managing director Wachira Waruru tried to engage the CA immediately but as of the time of publication the talks were still going on. Waruru said that the company was yet ot be informed the reasons for switching off. In his statement to the media, Waruru said “There has been no official communication as to why this action was taken. We are actively engaging the relevant government authorities to establish the reason for this action. We hope to resume normal transmission as soon as possible.”
Nation Media’s television NTV was also shut down by the Communication Authority after its officers who were accompanied by police officers visited it’s transmission site in Limuru. The officials switched off that of Nation Media group and that of Royal Media and left the place in less than fifteen minutes.
KTN News which is entirely a news channel was still live from Uhuru Park some minutes before 11am. No sooner had the NTV reporter Ken Mijungu reported on the NTV shut down than the KTN News followed suit.
NTV and KTN News were switched off only on free to air platforms but Citizen TV was completely shut down leaving the giant station with only the streaming option through either the station’s website or it’s You tube channel.
Radio Africa's Bamba TV and Signet which offer Free to air channels were also forced to shut down so that no one could follow any proceeding from Uhuru Park.
According to the Bamba head engineer, police from Spring Valley station arrived at the station's main office at Lion Place, Westlands at around 10.30 saying they needed to switch off KTN Home and KTN News on the Bamba platform. They were in company of CAK officer Titus Cheptoo who said live coverage had been banned but did not provide a letter on the same.
All these proceedings occurred hours after it emerged that Statehouse had warned media houses against live coverage of the NASA’s event of swearing in Raila and Kalonzo as the people’s president and deputy respectively.
Kenya Editors Guild chairman, Linus Kaikai, took issue with the summoning of media managers from the main media houses to State House, where shutdown threats were reportedly issued.
In part Kaikai’s statement read that,“At the meeting, President Kenyatta expressly threatened to shut down and revoke the licences of any media house that would broadcast live the planned purported swearing in of NASA leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka on Tuesday. That direct threat has subsequently been echoed, off record by other senior members of government.”