The communications department has sought to allay fears that it is
interfering in the issuing of new pay-TV licences by the Independent
Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) by imposing a moratorium on the
process, writes Thom McLachlan in Business Day.
The department denied media accusations that it was undermining IcasaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s authority.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œAt no point has the minister proposed that there be a moratorium on pay-television licensing, as has been alleged by the media,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â the departmentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s director-general, Lyndall Shope-Mafole, said.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIt is common ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ knowledge that the licensing of broadcasting services is, and continues to be, an Icasa process.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
A document issued for public comment last month ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œlargely represents the proposals of the digital migration working groupÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â made up of experts and representative of the broadcasting industry, the department said.
The working group was appointed by the department. It handed its report to Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri late last year.
The department proposed at a meeting with stakeholders that Icasa postpone the issuing of new licences until the end of next year to prevent the undermining of ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œthe governmentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s plans for digital migration, which will benefit all South Africans, not just those who can afford to buy subscription television servicesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
Click here to read the full report, posted on Business Day's website.