In South Africa, the free to air broadcaster, eTV, has filed papers with the constitutional court urgently looking to appeal the high court’s ruling last week that analogue terrestrial television broadcasting in South Africa be turned off on 30 June.
BMA has learnt that eTV has filed papers with South Africa’s apex court, looking to contest the ruling that demanded Communications Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni to pause on analogue switch-off by three months, from 31 March to 30 June 2022.
The free-to-air broadcaster is also approaching the high court for leave to appeal the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeals.
If granted, the appeal would delay the issuance of the radio-frequency spectrum presently used by broadcasters to telecommunications operators who have already accepted paying for access to the frequencies during the last spectrum auction hosted by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA).
eTV had hoped for more time than the high court allocated to finish the analogue switch-off, indicating that many disadvantaged households could lose access to free-to-air television.
The high court ruling was seen as a conquest for the Minister of Communication, who indicated in a statement last week her delight over the ruling and employed eTV to stop derailing the analogue switch-off process.
The Minister indicated that the additional three months was enough time to finish the installation of government-subsidised free digital set-top boxes in disadvantaged households.
eTV had proposed to the Minister of Communications to free up spectrum for telecommunications operators and allow broadcasters to continue airing on analogue terrestrial, but the Minister refused the proposal.