The department of communications & digital technologies will conduct public hearings into the draft white paper on audiovisual content services policy framework in April.
Last year, the department gazetted the draft paper for public comment.
The objectives of the draft white paper are to solicit inputs from the sector and all affected stakeholders to ensure that it covers all aspects of audiovisual content players, in preparation for the final white paper.
The paper emphasises the review of areas such as:
- Licensing of streaming services, also known as OTTs;
- Competition issues in relation to pay-television and free-to-air markets; and
- Skills development to accelerate digital transformation in the sector.
Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said there is a growing need to level the playing field between traditional broadcasting, on-demand providers, including catch-up TV services and video on-demand services, as well as news portals and video-sharing platforms.
“It has been quite a journey to get this draft white paper to this stage. We are steadily moving towards the implementation stage now. To date, the department has received more than 40 formal submissions, from a wide range of stakeholders and individuals,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
The communications department is analysing industry submissions with the intention of revising the white paper to incorporate inputs. The hearings are scheduled for April and May 2021.