Broadcast Regulation

South Africa: Govt.'s Proposals May 'Force' DStv To Offer More Free-To-Air Sports Channel

Reporting by the South African technology and media website is saying that the country's Department of Communications and Digital Technologies is asking ICASA (the industry regulator) to review the regulatory requirements for sports broadcasting with the aim of 'forcing' Multichoice DStv to make more free-to-air sports available via its satellite platform.

Excerpts from a section of the industry white paper issued last week by the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies said: It should remain the policy intention to continue to ensure that key national sports events are aired free-to-air, whilst acknowledging that certain exclusive sports events are critical to the viability of the subscription model.

In South Africa, current regulations on sports broadcasting say the game has to be of 'public interest' for it to be mandated 'free-to-view' to all South Africans, regardless of the platforms they are broadcasted on.

The new white paper is, however, proposing a significant change to the definitions of the term 'public interest' aiming to expand its criteria to include events

  • Involving a South African senior national team, or an individual representing the Republic;
  • That is "a major sport "taking into consideration the number of South Africans who play it and watch it at the venue or on television, or listen to radio coverage
  • That is of major importance to South African society, and not just to those who ordinarily follow the sport
  • That is appropriate to list, given its structure and duration.


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