Kenya TV stations resume operations

Broadcaster back in business after court order.

NTV, KTN News TV stations are back on air after a seven-day shutdown by the government. PHOTO | JAMILA MOHAMED | NATION 

Two of the three private television stations in Kenya on Monday evening resumed operations after being shut down by the government for seven days.

NTV, KTN News TV stations are back on air but Citizen TV signal is yet to be reinstated.

The move comes on the same day that activist Okiya Omtatah filed a lawsuit seeking the arrest of Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i, ICT counterpart Joe Mucheru and the Communications Authority (CA) board for contempt of court.

This is after the government failed to comply with a High Court order to immediately restore all TV transmissions last week Thursday, pending hearing of a suit filed by Mr Omtatah.

The Nation Media Group's NTV, Royal Media's Citizen, and Standard Group's KTN News were switched off mid-morning Tuesday for airing live footage of the opposition leader Raila Odinga 'swearing-in' as the 'people's president'.

The Interior CS reckons that the stations were bent on inciting violence by airing the political event.

“Accordingly, the Government took a decision to shut down the concerned media houses, until further notice, as it launches a full investigation into the serious breach of security,” said Dr Matiang’i at the time.

It was not immediately clear why Citizen TV was yet to be reinstated by the CA.

The three media houses have taken a financial hit after the State's move, estimated to run into about Ksh30 million ($295,500) a day lost in advertising revenues.

The media blackout was condemned by the United Nations, the US, European Union and human rights organisations.

International media stations from around the globe on Monday highlighted the government’s defiance to keep the stations off-air, despite a court order to restore broadcast.

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