The SABC’s head of TV licences Sylvia Tladi says that changes need to be made to South Africa’s broadcasting regulations to ‘continue effectively serving South Africa’s public interest programming needs’.
Among these changes, Tladi said that this should include a review of the public broadcasting policy to include an expanded definition of a ‘TV set’ or now, a broadcasting device.
Some of the devices which are being considered under this expanded definition include:
- Set-top boxes;
Tladi said that these devices, which have resulted in new media platforms and content dissemination channels, have a direct impact on TV licence legislation.
She said that the SABC’s submission also calls for an overhauled TV licence fee system and changes to the legislation regarding public funding strategies envisaged by TV licences.
“To ensure maximum compliance with legislative requirements concerning the payment of TV licence fees, the SABC proposes that the act should place stricter obligations on all relevant stakeholders or role players because the ‘traditional’ television set is no longer the only means of receiving a television broadcast.
“Therefore, to administer compliance on the payment of licence fees, the SABC is of the view that other entities must be compelled to report on the sale, lease or usage of these ‘television sets’ or ‘viewing devices’.
As is currently the case with purchasing a television set, the proposed revised legislation will also motivate pay-TV operators to hold their subscribers accountable for registering or having a valid television licence before the subscription, purchase or rental of a decoder, is granted, she said.
“Furthermore, submitted regulations aim to make it obligatory for internet streaming and television streaming websites to pay a percentage of subscription fees to the SABC, where these websites stream SABC content.”
Tladi said that the SABC sees itself as a multiplatform content provider that delivers public service content, which includes content gathering, creation, commissioning, curation, packaging and distribution through public service media.
“The proposed amendment to TV licence Fee Regulations is critical to the SABC’s ability to benefit from the opportunities created by the convergence of the media and other technological developments in the broadcasting industry,” she said.
This process is still in the consultation phase and requires more input from various stakeholders, including the public, she said.
“As its mandate is to demonstrate integrity and uphold the country’s democratic pillars, the SABC will keep the participation process transparent and fair, and encourages conversations with all South Africans, including the corporate community who would also be affected by the legislative changes.
“With the tide of technological advances in how we collect, store and disseminate information and stories, so too must the law evolve to regulate this space better and to reflect the current digital landscape we find ourselves in.”