SOS: Support Public Broadcasting. Oral Submission to ICASA 6 May 2010. Introduction. We, the Civil Society Coalition: SOS: Support Public Broadcasting (“the Coalition”), thank ICASA for the opportunity to make this oral representation.
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6 May 2010
We, the Civil Society Coalition: SOS: Support Public Broadcasting (“the Coalition”), thank ICASA for the opportunity to make this oral representation.
The Coalition’s written submission and this oral presentation puts forward the Coalition’s views on the questions raised in ICASA’s discussion document on issues of ownership and control published in Government Gazette No. 32719, Notice 1532 of 2009.
A large grouping of organisations and individuals working together to support and strengthen public broadcasting in South Africa.
It includes non-governmental and civil society organisations, trade unions, independent producers and academics
Members of the Civil Society Coalition SOS: Supporting Public Broadcasting
As a Coalition dedicated to the support and strengthening of public broadcasting – our focus is on broadcasting.
Experience in other countries demonstrates that it is extremely difficult to dismantle concentrated media ownership structures once they have developed.
Therefore it is important to put in place limitations from the beginning.
There is a need where exceptions are allowed (as in current law) for the regulator to spell out in regulations what it will consider in deciding on such applications
Diversity is not only realised through introducing a range of shareholders in the commercial sector.
Diversity is also reached through the three tier system – by ensuring access by audiences to commercial, public and community services.
Rules should promote the development of all three tiers across the country
Diversity is not limited to ownership. Ownership diversity must be considered together with:
SOS agrees with proposal in 2004 paper to introduce percentage based rather than numeric limitations for radio.
The 2004 recommendation from ICASA proposed that one person control no more than 35% of the number of commercial sound broadcasting services licensed. This certainly enhanced the existing legislative numerical provisions, but SOS argues that the regulator could further refine its approach in order to investment in secondary towns – such as Northern Cape.
The 2004 Position Paper propose a slight relaxation in respect of limitations on foreign ownership from 20% to 25% where the company is not listed, to 35% for listed companies and to an overall level of 35% for more than one foreign owner in an unlisted company in order to:
The Coalition strongly supports South African ownership of broadcasting services as broadcasting is an essential public service.
We feel that ICASA should do more research re: the actual percentages. ICASA should evaluate the percentages by weighing up the need to ensure broadcasting is controlled by South Africans but also that we do make South Africa attractive to foreign investment
Regulations for free to air commercial broadcasting are over ten years old.
There is a need to ensure a greater diversity of views at programming level:
ICASA needs to consider how to promote language diversity in the commercial sector
The Coalition thanks
ICASA for this opportunity