The first and only privately-owned free-to-air television in South Africa, eTV, has approached the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) on an urgent basis to plead the High Court ruling over the country’s analogue switch-off (ASO) deadline.
If you recall, the High Court had deferred the switch-off deadline from 31 March to 30 June 2022.
The ConCourt will be hearing eTV’s plea this coming Friday, 20 May.
Media Monitoring Africa and SOS Coalition have supported the litigation from its initiation. The #SaveFreeTV campaign has joined the aforementioned and believes that a further delay will provide sufficient time to complete set-top box installations for qualifying households and still enjoy free-to-air TV channels and access to essential news and information.
The #SaveFreeTV campaign has voiced its full support for eTV, claiming that “millions of South African viewers will be left with no access to public benefit broadcasting information resource” if the ASO happens on the designated 30 June deadline.
The #SaveFreeTV campaign statement also adds that “it is unfortunate that Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has failed to provide effective leadership to secure efficient broadcast digital migration and ASO in the interest of all parties involved.”
“#SaveFreeTV campaign has pleaded with the Minister to engage with all parties involved reasonably to achieve mutually beneficial solutions and secure the future of the digital terrestrial television platform.”
Despite the legal battle with eTV, the ministry said they are working on completing the ASO as per the High Court order.