Civil organisations to protest govt pulling plug on analog TV

Over 100 organisations are expected to attend the People's Assembly to #SaveFreeTV in parts of the country.

FILE: A number of civil organisations are planning to protest against government plans to disconnect the analogue TV signal. Picture:  Sven Scheuermeier on unsplash.com

CAPE TOWN - Civil society organisations will gather on Thursday to challenge government's plans to disconnect the analogue TV signal of millions of people at the end of this month.

Over 100 organisations are expected to attend the People's Assembly to #SaveFreeTV in parts of the country.

The assembly kicks off a campaign to demand that government delays the analogue switch-off.

Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has, as enabled by legislation, gazetted 31 March as the date for the final switch-off of the analogue signal.

Sthembiso Khuluse from the Right2Know Campaign said if they did not act now, millions, including the most marginalised, would lose access to vital news, information and education.

He said that free TV was critical to enabling people's rights to free expression and access to information.

Khuluse said the following on the switch off:

“We are also backlogged; people can’t access their set-top box. Some of them are being rejected, some of them have not been installed yet. So, if the government does not postpone their due date, there will be problems. People will be left behind, especially the poor and marginalised communities,” Khuluse said.

Meanwhile, the department hit back saying that it was concerned about misinformation in this regard.

It said that to date, five provinces have been switched off without any blackouts.

The department said the analogue switch-off programme followed a careful, methodical process that involved all broadcasters, the department and entities under its portfolio, led by the signal distributor, Sentech.