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ICASA officially warns top international media

By , IT in government editor
South Africa , 13 Jun 2013

ICASA officially warns top international media

South Africa’s communications watchdog has slapped warnings of non-compliance on some of the world’s top global broadcasters for not having ‘special event licences’ in the country.

Special event licences take a minimum of two days to be issued and are valid for 30 days. They are intended to be used to cover events such as international cricket and football tournaments by broadcasters.

ICASA says that Al Jazeera, Sky News, CNN, BBC and NBC are among global broadcasters found to not have these licences in South Africa.

However, ICASA’s warnings have come as international and local media have camped outside a Pretoria hospital where former South African president Nelson Mandela is reported to be receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection.

“ICASA inspectors picked up the transmission of unlicensed broadcasting signals in Arcadia, Pretoria from where the international broadcasters have been operating since the admission,” reads a statement from ICASA.

ICASA officials explain that for coverage of international events, broadcasters bring communications equipment such as Satellite News Gathering (SNG) to relay their broadcasts.

The watchdog says these broadcasters therefore need a spectrum licence to be allocated a frequency for this purpose, and to make sure their broadcasts do not interfere with licensed operators.

“They were broadcasting prior to their licence applications being approved which rendered their operations illegal,” explains the statement.

“Other licence applications were rejected as their reasons for the events were vague or non-existing,” the statement reads.

Mandela has been at the hospital for the past six days. He was admitted in the early hours of Saturday morning and is receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection, according to reports.

The South African presidency has issued a statement saying that the elderly statesman is in a serious but stable condition.

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