Public discussions on the role of broadcasting regulator Icasa (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa) were held without the regulator’s presence at the two-day hearings on the proposed controversial Public Service Broadcast Bill in Midrand, Gauteng.
As it is, in its present state the bill already lessens the regulator’s power in favour of the Minister of Communications. Lots of criticism has been leveled at Icasa for some time, particularly because it has failed to ensure that crisis-ridden public broadcaster SABC meets its local content mandate.
According to Business Day, Media Monitoring Africa, MultiChoice and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) said at the hearings that, as per its mandate, it is Icasa that should have the oversight role and not the Minister.
Icasa’s no show at the hearings was reportedly due to the fact that the regulator was waiting for an invitation to attend after having submitted a written response.
SABC was also conspicuous by its absence.
The bill will be presented to parliament in the first quarter of 2011.