South Africa: Icasa may shut new free broadcaster

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The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) warned on Friday that it could block Free2View's satellite signal, or take other action, if the UK-based free-to-air broadcaster continued operating without a licence. Free2View launched its satellite broadcasting services last week, which will provide consumers with access to a variety of channels; such as live news programmes and documentaries for free. Consumers will only make a once-off payment of R1,400 (US$194) for a decoder and a satellite dish. Icasa, which regulates the broadcasting and telecoms sectors, has not issued Free2View with a licence or permission to operate. Any entity that planned to provide a broadcasting service in South Africa requires a licence and any attempt to provide such service without one constituted a criminal offence, Icasa said. If Free2View continued operating, Icasa could approach the court for an interdict to stop its operations.