StarTimes denies hijacking KBC World Cup broadcasts

Regulation & Policy

Pay-TV provider StarTimes has defended its move to air the FIFA World Cup amidst accusations it hijacked the signal of the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), which has rights to televise the sporting event.

Last week, the Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK) accused the StarTimes of hacking KBC’s signal and pirating it without the state broadcaster’s consent, and has since taken the company to court.

However, The Standard reports signal distributor the Pan African Network Group – which supplies broadcasts from StarTimes and Star Times Limited – said the move was sanctioned by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK).

It said under the CAK’s digital migration policy StarTimes was required to carry free-to-air channels to ensure Kenyans could access signal without purchasing a set-top-box.

Managing director of StarTimes William Lan said KBC management had agreed to allow StarTimes to distribute the signal on its platform.

“I am aware that quite apart from the requirement by CAK for KBC content to be carried on the digital platform, the plaintiff had itself confirmed to StarTimes that its content could be carried on our platform,” Lan is quoted as saying.

According to Lan, the CAK said StarTimes access to the content did not constitute an intellectual property violation.

The case will be heard on Thursday.