E-TV, a South African free-to-air broadcaster, issued a press release today (14 November 2012) in which it expressed its dismay for comments made by Roy Kruger, the technical advisor to Minister of Communications, Dina Pule.
Some of Kruger’s remarks were directed at E-TV’s lawsuit against the Minister’s appointment of Sentech to manage conditional access to set-top boxes.
According to E-TV, Kruger’s description of the lawsuit as “stupid” and pointing to it as the reason for delaying a digital terrestrial television (DTT) launch is “highly irresponsible and misinformed.”
E-TV said that it takes DTT and the lawsuit very seriously and has always supported the migration to DTT as a path to a multi-channel free-to-air environment.
“Kruger’s comments are unacceptable, especially in the context of e.tv’s repeated public statements that a successful DTT platform is crucial to the sustainability of terrestrial broadcasters in South Africa,” said E-TV’s chief operating officer, Bronwyn Keene-Young.
“Terrestrial broadcasters are losing audience share as viewers increasingly move to other platforms offering multi-channel options. It is for this reason that E-TV has a critical and vested interest in the success of DTT to maintain its viability and to offer South Africa a high quality multi-channel free-to-air product,” Keene-Young added.
“In fact, as a single-channel free-to-air broadcaster, we probably have the most to lose by DTT delays.”
E-TV said that its case against the Minister aims to ensure the establishment of a strong and stable DTT platform and reflects its commitment to a successful launch.
“Kruger’s comments that e.tv is ‘holding up the country’ is a false accusation and ironic given the fact that DTT migration is being delayed due to a lack of regulatory certainty with no finalised DTT regulations, no finalised Sentech tariffs for broadcasters and no strong communications campaign around DTT,” Keene-Young continued.
“Anyone following e.tv’s submissions to ICASA will know that the broadcaster fully supports DTT migration but this does not mean we should be forced to accept unlawful instructions from the Minister,” she said. “In fact, we wonder why Mr Kruger has sought to go down this road. What are his motives?”