Court dismisses e.TV’s application to stop analogue to digital migration

Court dismisses e.TV’s application to stop analogue to digital migration

The Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has urged e.TV to accept the ruling of the High Court and desist from further attempts to derail the process of digital migration.

The North Gauteng High Court dismissed an application by the free-to-air broadcaster to stop the switch from analogue to digital.

e.TV and two other applicants hauled Ntshavheni to court in a bid to declare the decision for the switch-off date be set aside because millions of viewers relied on analogue.

They argued the digital migration process could not be completed by Ntshavheni without providing South Africans who were reliant on analogue, alternative means to access free-to-air television.

In a statement, Ntshavheni said she is pleased with the court’s judgement which confirmed that government’s responsibility to assist households still watching TV-via analogue transmitters is limited to those households that meet the government set criteria and register for such assistance.

“eTV’s disagreement with the process followed and preference for a process that serves its commercial interests does not require further consultation opportunities. Furthermore, e.TV cannot dispute its inclusion in several satisfactory consultations over many years regarding the process of digital migration.”

The court’s judgment also noted that government had clearly articulated the criteria for those who will qualify for government support.

The court also ordered e.TV to pay 50% of the minister’s legal costs, and the full legal bill of two other respondents in the case, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and Vodacom.

While the gazetted analogue switch-off and end of dual illumination in South Africa is on Thursday, 31 March 2022, the, court also ordered that the date be deferred to the end of June.

Last week, the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies said it has registered more than 1.4 million indigent applicants for government’s free decoder and installation.

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