In an official statement released by CAK 6 radio stations have been shut down.
The Communications Authority of Kenya, working together with law enforcement agencies, has executed warrants to search and subsequently impounded equipment used to transmit unauthorized radio broadcast frequencies. This operation is part of investigations with the respect to the illegal operation of six stations namely, Ugwe FM in Rongo Town (97.1Mhz), Radio Faith FM in Oyugis Town (94.1Mhz), Radio Pacho in Siaya Town (88.1Mhz), Sunset Radio in Homa Bay Town (94.9 Mhz), Milambo FM in Migori Town (95.9 Mhz) and Ekialo Kiona in Mfangano Island (99.3Mhz).
The broadcast transmitters had been installed, without the required licences, an act that is considered deliberate breach of the law. The warrants were executed on 9th and 10th April 2015.
Set up and operation of communications apparatus without authorization from the Authority is prohibited in Section 35 of the Kenya Information and Communications Amendment Act, 2013. Additionally, all broadcasting services must be licenced by the Authority. The law also prohibits the establishment or use of any radio communication station or apparatus unless issued with the relevant licence.
Transmitters located in non-designated broadcasting sites are bound to cause harmful interferences to duly licensed services including broadcasters, aviation, and other critical services. Transmissions from such illegal stations do cause interferences in neighbouring countries, eliciting complaints from regulators in the region. The Authority has received several complaints from other broadcasters with respect to interferences to their stations. In some instances, the interferences had been so intense that the services of other broadcasters using duly authorized frequencies had been rendered completely inoperable.
Illegal transmissions also place the safety of our airspace in jeopardy due to such interferences on radio communication between pilots and the control tower.
The implications of unauthorized use of frequencies are quite adverse and include the following:
• Sub-standard installations cause interference to existing licensed broadcasters.
• They are a threat to national security and safety. Nyanza is a lightning prone areas and such substandard installations can therefore jeopardize the safety of residents since the installations lack the necessary earthing systems;
• The continued establishment of unauthorized transmissions is increasing incidences of harmful interferences to other spectrum users including aviation, thus presenting a threat to safety of life. This may result in Kenya being boycotted/blacklisted by airlines leading to extensive losses in tourism and other economic activities including investment;
• The continued use of unauthorized frequencies amounts to an act of impunity and flies in the face of the regulatory requirement to provide an equal platform for all players; and
• Unauthorized use of frequencies denies the Authority the spectrum resources to address plurality and diversity and to cater for devolution requirements as envisaged in the constitution.
The Authority has executed the search warrants with sole focus on the six unauthorized FM broadcast frequencies in use in Nyanza Region. The Authority takes cognizance of the need to mitigate the severe implications that arise from illegal use of frequencies in order to safeguard the safety and integrity of our airspace, and protection of investments in the ICT sector.
Francis Wangusi, MBS