The SABC has followed E-tv’s lead and is requesting that its licence conditions be amended to remove the requirement to broadcast news in prime time.
DA shadow Minister of Communications Phumzile Van Damme said the broadcaster made the request during a recent public hearing at ICASA.
“The DA will voice its objection to this when ICASA appears before the Portfolio Committee on Communications tomorrow,” said Van Damme.
“We will also request that ICASA spell out its position on the canning of prime time news.”
Van Damme said all free-to-air broadcasters, and in particular the SABC as South Africa’s public broadcaster, have an obligation in terms of the Electronic Communications Act to facilitate news and educational programming in the national interest.
“It is logical that this must happen during prime time, when most South Africans are watching TV.”
“By the SABC’s own admission, over 12 million people watch TV during prime time, with 79% of adults in urban areas relying on free-to-air television as the most regular source of news. Only 1 in 10 rely on social media as a news source.”