Accept TV judgment, Shinn tells Muthambi - TechCentral

Accept TV judgment, Shinn tells Muthambi

Marian Shinn

Marian Shinn

Democratic Alliance MP Marian Shinn has urged communications minister Faith Muthambi to accept the judgment of the supreme court of appeal over the long-running battle over encryption of free-to-air digital terrestrial television signals in South Africa.

“I urge minister Muthambi not to contemplate further legal action as this would merely exacerbate South Africa’s much-delayed switch-off of analogue broadcasting signals so the airwaves can be released for mobile broadband communications,” Shinn said in a statement.

Free-to-air broadcaster won the battle against the minister’s 2015 amendment of government’s broadcasting digital migration policy at the appeal court.

The supreme court of appeal found that the amendment did not follow a process of consultation and was irrational and in breach on the principle of legality. The court found, too, that the amendment did not achieve its purpose and was thus irrational and invalid. Muthambi purported to bind regulatory authorities and broadcasters and therefore acted beyond her powers.

The judgment is particularly scathing of Muthambi’s failure to consult with communications regulator Icasa and the Universal Service & Access Agency of South Africa over the amendment, but it also lashed her for failing to consult with and other interested industry role players before amending the policy.

Shinn said on Wednesday that’s court victory will allow free-to-air television broadcasters to protect quality programming from being pirated.

“This means South Africans will have the freedom to choose competitive, affordable, quality TV programming from a diversity of broadcasters,” she said.

Muthambi must now redo the tender process to procure the competitively priced, encrypted set-top boxes from as many local electronics manufacturers as possible so qualifying poor households can receive the decoders, Shinn said.

The minister must also “break her silence and detail what steps she has taken to secure adequate funding for the procurement set-top boxes, their installation and support”.

So far, national treasury, at the end of 2014, had only approved R2,4bn of the R4,3bn needed to buy 5m set-top boxes, she said.  — (c) 2016 NewsCentral Media


  1. Anthony Bingham on

    Have we not learned yet? Everything the vile ANC touches eventually turns to sh!t…how much better off we would be if they simply did…..nothing

  2. Anthony Bingham on

    Also, why hasn’t this useless cretin been fired and turfed out for this chronic mess – all of her own making – as I have said before, extreme arrogance coupled with high doses of stupidity is a toxic mix – and has no place in in government.

  3. Alex J Nagel on

    I share your sentiments. Not to mention the private companies that have lost plenty of money due her stupidity, and jobs lost because of her intransigence. You say extreme arrogance coupled with high doses of stupidity is a toxic mix ….. has been proven in this country Arrogance = Muthambi high doses of stupidity = Hlaudi Motsoaneng = toxic mix

  4. Andrew Fraser on

    “Shinn said on Wednesday that’s court victory will allow free-to-air television broadcasters to protect quality programming from being pirated.”

    But those protections already exist in the form of COPY PROTECTION. Which is already implemented in the STB.

    There is no requirement for encryption to fight piracy, and the argument that it is, is a red herring. Shinn is either misinformed, or so keen to complain about Muthambi that she is arguing a point that is incorrect.

    There are only two reasons to employ encryption:
    1. To ensure that only South African made STBs are capable of receiving the signal – Thus protecting the inefficient local producers against imported STBs at a fraction of the price. (And in turn, making some tenderpreneurs rich at taxpayer expense – hence NAMEC’s name on the court documents)

    2. To enable subscription based Pay TV. That is the sole reason that e.TV is so intransigent in this regard.

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