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Municipal Elections Broadcasts Regulations Amended

December 14, 2020

Independent Communications Authority

Amendments to the Municipal Elections Broadcasts and Political Advertisements Regulations are on the cards.

The Independent Communications Authority (ICASA) published the Draft Regulations in Government Gazette 43984 for comment.

The Regulations, published in 2011, prescribe the framework and guidelines under which party election broadcasts (PEB) and political advertisements (PA) shall be conducted and carried by the broadcasting service licensee during the municipal elections.

The Regulations are applicable during the election period; to broadcast service licensees and to a party contesting the municipal elections.

They focus, inter alia, on party election broadcasts, allocation of air-time in respect of party election broadcasts, political advertising and complaints.

The Draft Regulations seek to insert new definitions on ā€œcurrent affairs programmeā€, ā€œindependent candidateā€ and ā€œPEBā€.

PEB ā€œmeans a party election broadcast made by a political party or an independent candidateā€.

A new Regulation 4 on party election broadcasts is proposed.

A new Regulation 5 on allocation of air-time in respect of party election broadcasts stipulates that ā€œair-time in respect of PEB(s) shall be allocated by the Authority to the registered political parties or registered independent candidates contesting the municipal elections on the basis of the respective principles set out in Schedule 1 of Annexure A of these regulationsā€.

Regulation 6 is amended by the introduction of a new sub-regulation (14) stipulating that a ā€œbroadcasting service licensee that broadcasts PA must ensure that all PA broadcasts are clearly identified through a standard pre-recorded top and tail disclaimerā€.

A new Annexure A on principles of PEB airtime allocation, technical standards and quality and guidelines is proposed.

Comment is invited within 45 days of the date of publication.

ICASA also plans to hold provincial workshops on the Draft Regulations.

The schedule will be finalised by 30 December 2020.