A new proposal has been put forward by the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, aimed at forcing DStv to make more of its sports channels free-to-air.

While some sports are already free-to-air, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa is currently reviewing the country’s broadcasting regulations to redefine the criteria for this requirement, reports My Broadband.

Current regulations state that sports deemed to be in the public interest must be made free to view, even for South Africans without a DStv subscription.

In a white paper published last week, the department proposed the current legislation be amended to change the definition of events in the public interest to include new criteria.

“It should remain the policy intention to continue to ensure that key national sports events are aired free-to-air, whilst acknowledging that certain exclusive sports events are critical to the viability of the subscription model,” the whitepaper states.

In order to be deemed of public interest, the proposal puts forth that an event must:

– involve a South African senior national team (i.e. the most senior official South African team) or an individual representing the Republic

– 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

– be of major importance to South African society, and not just to those who ordinarily follow the sport

– be appropriate to list, given its structure and duration

– take 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.

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