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New Advisory Bodies For SA Communications Ministry

[JOHANNESBERG, SA] - Robert Nkuna, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Communications, announced that the Ministry is launching two new advisory bodies. These bodies are to assist the government with digital broadcasting and radio and television broadcasting.

The launch of the two bodies -- the Digital Broadcasting Advisory Body (DBAB) and the South African Broadcast Advisory Body (BPAB)-- takes place today at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Nkuna said that the DBAB is being established in terms of Chapter 7 of the white paper on broadcasting policy. The Chapter is entitled "Digital Convergence and Multi-Media" and states that multi-channel distribution is to "serve social goals, cost-efficiency and effectiveness." It goes on to stress that these services should universalize access to broadcast and multi-media services (including the Internet) and serve as an education mechanism.

In terms of Chapter 7, the regulator is to conduct a public enquiry and report on a regulatory regime, which will include license-fees, which all providers of multi-channel services, whether broadcast or data-transmission, will have to pay.

Within this framework, the DBAB will advise the government on the introduction of digital broadcasting and help the government in ensuring the sector's competitiveness.

The second body, the BPAB, is being established in terms of Chapter 9 of the white paper. This Chapter, entitled "Ownership and Control," states two objectives for broadcasting in South Africa.

The first is the empowerment and skills development of previously disadvantaged groups within the professional, managerial and operational levels. The second objective is to increase the amount of foreign investment in local broadcasting while retaining control in South African hands.

Nkuna stated that the BPAB would advise the government on development, production and display of local content.