South Africa Communiqué
25 November 2009
Community TV to close down for mobile TV
A number of community television stations around South Africa are set to lose their frequency and may have to close. Cape Town's community television channel (CTV), received a letter from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), stating that various community television stations had been issued temporary licences, due to the lack of available frequencies. The letter stated that CTV was currently using a frequency allocated for mobile TV and during the rollout of mobile television, their service would have to be switched off. An Icasa spokesman told the Cape Argus that community television was working on a temporary basis, and would have to give way to mobile TV once it was rolled out."We are trying to get other means to cater for them (community TV stations)," he said.
CTV station manager Karen Thorne said all of these would be affected, including Richards Bay TV in KwaZulu-Natal and Tshwane TV in Pretoria. She added that Richards Bay TV had been constantly under threat of being shut down and Thswane TV had not been allocated a frequency by Icasa from March 2009. Thorne questioned why licences had been issued in the first place if frequencies had not been set aside for community television. The role of community TV was important in shaping and building communities, she said. It was also a space for freedom of expression as it was owned and controlled by the community.
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