South Africa: ICASA To Investigate Broadcasting ‘Must-Carry’ Regulations
3 July 2019
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has released a press statement announcing that it intends to launch an inquiry into South African broadcasting’s must-carry regulations to determine if they need to be amended.
According to ICASA, the cause for concern within these regulations is the point that a Subscription Broadcasting Service licensee (SBS) is ordered to carry the television shows of a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Licensee at zero cost to the SBS Licensee.
A probe into the topic which began in September last year emphasized ICASA’s insistence that the SABC should deliver signal to pay-TV Broadcasting Services at its own cost, while pay-TV licensees must, in turn, incur the fee of broadcasting.
ICASA said that the different phrasing of ‘at no cost’ in the regulations came about in an attempt by the authority to be fair and non-discriminatory and to make sure that universal access was put first before financial gain.
The regulator added that although ICASA had not made a conclusive finding at this stage on whether the implementation of the cost regulations carried by the Public Broadcasting Services and pay-TV licensees was reason enough for the rules to be amended.
However, ICASA has concluded that there is a need for further inspection and to launch an inquiry into the effectiveness of those regulations and possibly review them.