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ICASA warns International Broadcasters

Posted by radio On June - 13 - 2013

Johannesburg – The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) issued non-compliance warnings yesterday to a number of international broadcasting services for operating without the requisite radio frequency spectrum and type approval licences, including failure to produce a licence upon demand by Inspectors.


The non-compliance warnings were issued after ICASA inspectors picked up the transmission of unlicensed broadcasting signals in Arcadia, Pretoria from where the international broadcasters have been operating since the admission of former President Nelson Mandela in hospital last weekend. The affected international broadcasting services include Aljazeera, Sky News, CNN, BBC and the NBC.


For the coverage of international special events, broadcasters bring communications equipment such as Satellite News Gathering (SNG) to relay their broadcasts to international audiences.The SNG’s need a radio frequency spectrum licence to be allocated a frequency for this purpose, and some video cameras with micro-phones and a wireless capability need a Type Approval licence to make sure that they do not interfere with licensed operators. The type approval label has to be attached to the video camera and the micro-phones.


In the case of the coverage of former President Mandela’s admission to hospital, some of the broadcasters did go through the standard licensing application process that all broadcasters are required to comply with regard to special events of this nature.


They were broadcasting prior to their licence applications being approved which rendered their operations illegal. When the radio frequency spectrum licence is issued, the licensee is obliged to show it to ICASA’s Inspectors as they conduct routine monitoring and compliance duties.


The Authority issues Special Event licences for this purpose, and by end of business yesterday, several radio frequency spectrum and type-approval licences were already processed for approval to international broadcasting services.


The Authority’s website homepage has a dedicated link for Special Event licence application forms to enable international broadcasters to apply for requisite licences to cover events such as the previous held International Cricket 20/20, FIFA 2010 and Afcon 2013.


Following the issuance of non-compliance warnings yesterday, the Authority has received, and is busy processing a number of radio frequency spectrum and type-approval licence applications. These Special Event licences take a minimum of two days to be issued, and are valid for 30 days. Other licence applications were rejected as their reasons for the events were vague or non-existing.


The Authority is mindful of the fact that former President Mandela was admitted suddenly to hospital last week, and this resulted in a number of international broadcasters descending on our shores without making the necessary preparations and arrangements.


To this end, the Authority is always ready to help them in applying for the necessary frequency spectrum licences to broadcasting to international audiences.


[Issued by:ICASA]


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