The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies has proposed new rules for the Broadcasting Act which may force DStv to air some sports games for free.
This is proposed under a public interest bid, with the broadcaster having to make a game available to all for free even without a subscription.
The paper outlined exactly what makes a sports game in the public interest:
- The event must involve the South African senior national team (i.e. the most senior official South African team) or an individual representing the Republic.
- The event must be in a major sport, taking into consideration the number of South Africans who play it and/or watch it at the venue or on television, or listen to radio coverage.
- The event must be of major importance to South African society, and not just to those who ordinarily follow the sport.
- The event is appropriate to list, given its structure and duration.
- The event takes place in South Africa. The only events which take place outside South Africa which should be eligible for listing are international confederation sporting events such as a World Cup or Olympic event in which a South African team nor individual is representing the Republic.
This does narrow down the number of events which fall under the category, especially the rule regarding games played only inside the country.
Previously ICASA has considered a similar plan, with MultiChoice responding that it would prefer the regulations are left as they are now.
This paper is not legal and there would still need to be considerable work done to get the Act changed before it could come into effect.