South Africa: New Laws Proposed To Strengthen The Public Broadcaster - SABC
A new Broadcasting Act designed to enhance the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and revamp the dynamics of the "TV Licence". The new Act is being proposed by the South Africa Department of Communications and Digital Technologies.
A recent white paper published by the department raised the "urgent need" to change the current South African Broadcasting Corporation Act to be more reflective of its public broadcasting mandate within the "context on current audio-visual content market reality".
A review of what the proposed Act entails shows that it will, in the main to focus more on the revamp of the TV license as a funding mechanism for the SABC, by "broadening the definition and collection systems for TV licenses", and to Strengthen enforcement mechanisms and penalties for defaulters".
The SABC has hitherto complained that even though Section 27 (5) of the Broadcasting Act as it currently stands allows it to pursue stricter punishments for people who fail to pay up their licence, it is now difficult and impractical to implement the measures in the Act due to socio-economic and political factors.
The public broadcaster welcomed the much needed operational changes being proposed within the new Broadcasting Act, as this will give it more latitude to operate its public services mandate within an increasingly adversarial marketplace.