ICASA speaks on broadcast ownership rules
In the detailed address dealing with structural regulation in broadcasting as well as concurrent jurisdiction with the Competition Commission, Markovitz noted that although there has been criticism that the ownership limitations are outdated, government had the opportunity to amend these limitations three years ago during the green paper / white paper process, but chose not to.
Markovitz did not, however, rule out a review in future. He said that the Authority was still to determine the scope of such a review but that it would probably be linked to an investigation into the licensing of private radio stations in secondary markets.
"The debate about the limitations has tended to narrowly focus on the limitations themselves. But one cannot separate ownership limitations from the size of the market. The amount of licences one party is allowed to control, is inextricably linked to the amount of licences available," noted Markovitz.
When asked about the time-frames for a review Markovitz stated that ICASA would endeavour to begin these processes before the end of 2001.
For players currently affected by the rules, Markovitz pointed out that the Authority may exempt applicants from the section 49 concentration limitations as well as the section 50 cross media limitations.
"It is up to applicants to cogently argue to the Authority why they should be exempted from the limitations."