Royal Media Services, a leading media house in Kenya, this weekend saw six of its major transmitters shut down by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) after what the regulator termed “operating illegally”.
The shutdown included five of Royal Media’s radio stations’ transmissions in Nakuru, Makueni and Malindi, among other places.
CCK said the transmitters are among 17 Royal Media has put up in the recent past without the necessary licenses from the communications regulator.
Explaining the decision, CCK director general Francis Wangusi said with the transmitters in operation other broadcasters were experiencing interference, as they had been set up in non-designated sites, as a result affecting the aviation equipment.
“In some instance the interferences are so intense that the services of other broadcasters using duly authorised frequencies have been rendered completely inoperable,” Wangusi said.
Wangusi added that Kenya’s airspace was at risk, since with the interferences pilots have a hard time communicating with air transport control towers on the ground.
The media house now faces legal action, as according to the Kenya Communications Amendment Act (2009), any telecommunications equipment operated without the approval of the CCK attracts a KSh3 million (US$35,000) penalty or a jail term of up to three years once found guilty.
Royal Media house already has a pending case in which it is accused of having acquired frequencies illegally.
The company has however defended itself, saying it has the necessary approvals from the authorities to operate the transmitters.