Content advisors for digital TV in South Africa

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 10-05-2012

A production and content advisory board is being created to aid the South African Government during the transition to digital terrestrial television (DTT) migration, minister of communications Dina Pule told parliament on Wednesday (9 May).

Pule said the part-time board will 'not necessarily' advise the public South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), but instead provide ministerial guidance "on content production and advise on strategies for content production in the digital television era".

SABC intends to grow its output from three to 18 channels during the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting. Plans from the public broadcaster include a 24-hour news channel to replace the defunct SABC News International and a new sports channel.

Opposition MPs told parliament that the content advisory board must remain independent and must not interfere politically in SABC content, reported Channel 24.

According to Eric Kholwane, chair of Parliament's portfolio committee on communications, chapter nine of the Broadcasting Act 1999 says that the minister must establish a South African Broadcasting Production Advisory Board to advise on the development, production and display of local television and radio content.

South Africa plans to commence digital terrestrial TV transmissions in September 2012. Earlier this week, Pule reiterated that Sentech has now provided signal coverage to over 60% of the population using the European DVB-T2 digital transmission standard.

"We have launched the DTT awareness campaign, where we are educating the South African public to understand what digital broadcasting means, and the need for them to take action," Pule told parliament.