It has emerged that millions of South Africans who rely on free-to-air television may soon be ‘robbed’ of prime-time news broadcasts after the SABC allegedly requested that the slot be canned.
This is according to a press statement released by the Democratic Alliance.
According to the statement, the SABC has allegedly requested an amendment to its licensing agreement. It would can news bulletins during prime time.
This apparently follows a similar request by e.tv to allow flexibility with regards to news bulletins.
“According to a presentation by the SABC at a public hearing last week at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) on a similar request by e.tv, the public broadcaster requested that all free-to-air broadcasters be allowed flexibility to decide whether to air news broadcasts during prime time,” read part of the DA’s statement.
If the application is approved by ICASA, this means that TV stations will no longer be obligated to air news broadcasts during prime time.
The DA plans to challenge the application in parliament on Tuesday, stating that it is of national interest that news is broadcast during prime time.
“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,” added the statement.
Numerous attempts to get comment from the SABC proved unsuccessful.