After being forced off air for 10 days following a government crackdown on TV stations that defied an official order not to air NASA leader Raila Odinga’s mock swearing in ceremony on January 30 live, Citizen TV appears to have turned to technology to avoid similar situations in future.
During the shutdown that also affected sister station, Inooro TV, as well as NTV and KTN News, Citizen was broadcasting on Viusasa, an affiliate platform headed by former Steadman (now Ipsos Synovate) MD George Waititu.
Viusasa is, however, meant to be a short video on demand platform but which also airs Citizen TV broadcasts at a small fee after the station stopped free live streaming of its programmes.
Now, the media house has adopted, Realstream, a service that allows one to multistream video live across over 30 streaming platforms such as Twitch, Youtube, Mixer, Facebook and under a paid instance, Facebook Live.
Realstream helps streamers reach audience members on a wide variety of platforms without the need for higher bandwidth consumption.
The government’s decision to shut down the four TV stations with NTV and KTN News resuming operations five days later despite a court order, saw many Kenyans turn to social media platforms to get news and information about what was happening in the country. Only KBC and K24 were unaffected but both are seen as biased in favour of the national government.
While Citizen TV broadcast on Viusasa, KTN News, the Standard Group’s 24-hour news channel whose back transmitter was switched off, was available on You Tube.
Though KTN Home was not affected, it did not air news during the shutdown as the government vowed to punish elements within media houses that were allegedly working for the Opposition. The stations also faced possible cancellation of operating licences.
For the better part of Tuesday evening, Citizen TV has been running clips on Twitter inviting viewers to watch its programmes live online thanks to Realstream.
Critics say with social and new media, it is impossible completely shut down access to news with some accusing the Jubilee administration of using a 1980s playbook in the 21st century.