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The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies will conduct public hearings into the Draft White Paper on Audio Visual Content Services Policy Framework.

Last year, the department gazetted the Draft White Paper on Audio Visual Content Services for public comment.

Public hearings are set to start in April.

The objectives of the Draft White Paper are to solicit inputs from the sector and all affected stakeholders to ensure that it covers all aspects of audio-visual content players, in preparation for the final White Paper.

The draft White Paper, among others, proposes new policy and regulatory changes as well as recommendations intended to reposition the audio-visual sector for future growth, and to promote investment.

The Draft White Paper also provides policy proposals to the questions and the critical issues identified by communications, media, and audio-visual content stakeholders during this process.

More importantly, the paper emphasises the review of the following pertinent elements:

  • Licensing of the Over-The-Top-Service (OTT’s);
  • Competition issues in relation to pay-tv and free-to-air markets; and   
  • Skills development to accelerate digital transformation within the audio-visual sector.

Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has commended all stakeholders who took time to make submissions on the Draft White Paper on Audio Visual Content Services.

The Minister said there is a growing need to level the playing field between traditional broadcasting, on-demand services providers, including catch-up TV service, video on-demand services, as well as news portals and video-sharing platforms.

“It has been quite a journey to get this Draft White Paper to this stage. We are steadily moving towards the implementation stage now. To date, the department has received more than 40 formal submissions, from a wide range of stakeholders and individuals,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said on Tuesday.

She said the department is currently analysing all the submissions with the intention of revising the White Paper to incorporate inputs.

The hearings are scheduled for April and May 2021.


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