NAB participates in broadcasting workshop hosted by ICASA

20 October 2023 | Ofentse Mboweni

On 18 October 2023, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) attended a collaborative broadcasting workshop hosted by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) in Midrand, Johannesburg.

Broadcasting industry stakeholders including the National Community Radio Forum (NCRF), Sentech, the South African Community Radio Organisation (SACRO) and the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) attended the workshop to discuss the South African broadcasting sector and its sustainability.

ICASA Councillor, Luthando Mkumatela, opened the workshop, saying that it is “no longer business as usual” given the significant changes taking place in the broadcasting sector. He stated that the purpose of the workshop was for an open discussion on developments and regulatory processes.

The NAB’s presentation highlighted recent trends in broadcasting, the impact of foreign-based, internet-delivered Over-The-Top (OTT) services of the local broadcasting sector, and a lack of regulatory parity.

“As broadcasters, we are concerned with OTTs, especially given the policy vacuum we are experiencing in South Africa. There is an urgent need to create a level playing field,” said NAB Executive-Director, Nadia Bulbulia.

NAB Deputy Chairperson, Nick Grubb, shared figures on the performance of the local radio broadcasting industry, and said that while radio maintained a strong position in the media landscape, it is under threat commercially.

“We are at a crossroads. Our ability to engage audiences is still healthy, even in the face of emerging digital technologies. However, our revenues are under threat due to a variety of factors. Radio remains the most effective way to reach South Africans, but unregulated digital technologies threaten radio’s ability to sustain continued investment in the sector,” he said.

To counter this threat, the NAB delegation indicated that it agreed with one of the solutions proposed by the DCDT in the Draft White Paper – a review of the restrictive and outdated ownership limitations.

The workshop underscored the importance of collaboration among industry stakeholders. The NAB suggested that ICASA engages more regularly with stakeholders on compliance matters and in enabling a sustainable and diverse broadcasting sector that serves the interests of both the public and the industry.



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