The SOS Coalition has welcomed the minister of communications “gesture” in keeping South Africans informed as to progress around the process of digital migration.
In a statement, SOS said Minister Dina Pule was set to give the nation “feedback and updates on the Departmental progress and status of several outstanding and important issues”.
However, the minister was “unexpectedly indisposed to communicate what developments the Department of Communications has made in broadening and strengthening the broadcasting landscape, particularly as it relates to public broadcasting”
Among the issues to be discussed included progress reports on the impending DTT migration process, Frequency Spectrum, SOE involvement and the ICT Policy Review, which is central to establishing an enabling framework for the broadcasting landscape.
The SOS Coalition also welcomed the ANC’s call, during the ANC policy conference, that access to broadband and a public broadcasting landscape that is broadly reflective of all South Africans be opened up to all South Africans.
“We further reiterate our support for the ICT Policy Review Panel the Minister is constituting with the full hope and trust that the review process will be a transparent and accountable one which is broadly representative of all sectors of society and fosters and engenders meaningful public participation throughout the entire process,” the Coalition said.
But the organisation – which represents a number of trade unions including COSATU, COSATU affiliates CWU and CWUSA, FEDUSA, BEMAWU and MWASA; independent film and TV production sector organisations including the South African Screen Federation (SASFED); and a host of NGOs – also called on the minister to commit to three solid outcomes.
1) Making accessible and readily available to South Africans the set-top box specs which, almost five weeks after they were launched, cannot be accessed by the public;
2) A firm date which will commence digital switch-on and the dual illumination period, as well as for how long that will continue and what implications it will have for access to broadly representative, local and credible programming across all public broadcasting platforms; and
3) A firm date for when the set-top boxes will be available to all sectors of the South African public, for how much as well as a comprehensive plan for how they will be rolled out, particularly among low-income and indigent households.