Loeries Special Section

Icasa urges comment on SABC licence amendment process

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) calls on the general public, broadcasting licensees and other stakeholders to ensure that their submission on the SABC Licence Amendment process, reaches the Authority by next Wednesday, 9 June 2004.

This follows Icasa's decision to extend the deadline for submission in order to allow interested parties time to comment on additional financial information regarding SABC's applications.

The SABC's application was previously gazetted on 30 April 2004, but excluded relevant financial information as the Authority was still considering a request for confidentiality from the SABC. The Authority has now granted the SABC confidentiality on certain financial information, but requested that SABC provide separate financial information for public scrutiny. This information is now included in the application. Fair administrative action requires that the Authority extend the period for representations from the public and stakeholders.

According to the applicant, the proposed amendment will result in the licences reflecting the re-organisation of SABC's services into a Public Service Division and a Commercial Service Division and its related obligations in terms of the Broadcasting Act and the IBA Act.

Interested parties now have until 9 June 2004 to lodge any representations. The application, including relevant financial information, is available at the Authority's library, and on the Authority's website: www.icasa.org.za (Under What's New).

After receiving submissions from the public and the SABC's responses thereto, the Authority will hold public hearings on the proposed amendments. As soon as reasonably possible after the conclusion of public hearings, the Authority will publish SABC's broadcasting licences, in draft form, incorporating both proposed amendments and additional conditions or obligations, if necessary, and will invite further comment thereon.

The Authority calls on all stakeholders - broadcasting licensees, interest groups, academia and the public at large - to take this opportunity to shape the future of the SABC's licence conditions by making an input into this important consultative process.

The licence conditions that will emanate from this process will go a long in repositioning the SABC in terms of the requirements of the Broadcasting Act of 1999. It is therefore imperative that all stakeholders peruse the SABC's application to amend all its broadcasting licences and make a substantive input by the 9 of June 2004 into this important process that will define the broad contours of public service broadcasting in South Africa.

Meanwhile, the Authority has renewed the SABC's radio and television licences apart from the Licence Amendments referred to above. The newly granted SABC radio and television licences can also be viewed on and downloaded from the ICASA website: www.icasa.org.za (Under What's New).

Editorial contact

Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa)

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