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Workshops on Municipal Elections Broadcasts Regulations on the Cards

January 8, 2021

Independent Communications Authority

Virtual workshops on the Draft Municipal Elections Broadcasts and Political Advertisements Amendment Regulations will be held between 18-22 January 2021.

The Independent Communications Authority (ICASA) announced the workshops in Government Gazette 44033.

ICASA published the Draft Regulations in Gazette 43984 in December 2020 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 “current affairs programme”, “independent candidate” and “PEB”.

PEB “means a party election broadcast made by a political party or an independent candidate”.

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 “air-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 regulations”.

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

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

Other ICASA notices published in December include:

• Notice 734 – applications for the transfer of individual electronic communications service and individual electronic communications network service licences by Neelana Communications (Pty) Ltd – written representations invited within 14 working days from date of publication;
• Notice 741 – responses to clarity questions raised by stakeholders in relation to the composite Invitation to Apply for an Individual Electronic Communications Network Service Licence and Radio Frequency Spectrum Licence for the Wireless Open Access Network available on ICASA’s website.