Icasa under pressure to review sport broadcasting rights

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The Independent Communication Authority of South Africa  (Icasa) has come under criticism in parliament for not reviewing its sport broadcasting rights regulations since 2010.

Icasa on Tuesday briefed Parliaments Portfolio Committee on Communication about its proposed review of the regulations.

The regulatory body says it plans to hold public hearings on the amendments by early next year.

Under Icasa’s current regulations, a number of designated sporting codes must be broadcast free to air licensees. This includes sport of national interest such as soccer, rugby and cricket internationals.

Sports broadcasting rights were thrust into the spotlight recently amid the public dispute between the SABC and the South African Football Association (SAFA) over the cost of broadcast rights.

Icasa’s Palesa Kadi says:”We are going to make a call to South Africans, federations and all those involved in sports broadcasting and any South African who is a content consumer of sport to make their views heard as the authority.”

MP’s have highlighted a number of issues, including the delayed broadcasts of sport events on free to air channels.

They say it infringes on the rights of South Africans to watch live events involving national teams.

Representatives of the SABC have welcomed Icasa’s decision to review its regulations.

SABC board member Michael Markovitz says:”The SABC would firstly like to welcome the announcement by Icasa today that they intend to review the sports rights regulations which were passed in 2010; so they are eight years old.”

Icasa says it will hold public hearings before finalising the regulations by the end of March 2019.