The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has revoked the operating licence of the digital terrestrial television operator, StarTimes. The revocation, according to Media Congo, took effect from 1 September and was on the orders of the Prime Minister, who directed the Post and Telecommunication, New Information Technologies and Communication (PT-NTIC) Minister, Tryphon Kin-Kiey Mulumba, to enforce it.
The saga around StarTimes began in July, when the PT-NTIC alleged that the company illegally carried on television and television distribution practices in the country. Mulumba insists that StarTimes never received an agreement to operate from the School of Authority for the regulation of Posts and Telecommunications of the Congo (ARPTC), according to article 17, paragraph 3 of the framework law cadre n° 013/2002 dated 16 October 2002 concerning telecommunications.
The PT-NTIC minister added that Startimes also operated illegally by using the public enterprise RTNC2’s frequency and that of the private organisation Télé7, alleged to have been transferred to them. However article 42, paragraph 1 of the framework law states that telecommunication public services dealerships and authorisations delivered according to this law are issued in a private capacity and therefore not transferrable.
Once the operation licence is revoked, StarTimes will have to remove all its advertisements, failing which it will “exacerbate it’s criminal liability”, insisted Mulumba who, thus, wins the contest against his colleague Lambert Mende, Media Minister, who strongly intervened in favour of SarTimes.