Hefty fines for breach of election broadcast regulations

2011-05-06 13:45

Broadcasters who breach the election code of conduct face fines of up to R1 million.

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) has gazetted the 2011 Municipal Elections Party Elections Broadcasts and Political Advertisements Regulations.

The regulations are only applicable during the election period and to Icasa broadcasting service licensees and parties contesting the elections.

The regulations apply to more than 70 television channels and radio stations, including all SABC stations and channels, and community radio stations.

Election broadcasts will be aired only until 48 hours before voting starts.

This means the election broadcasts should not be broadcast after 7am on Sunday, May 15.

The election broadcasts should also not be longer than two minutes.

Parties are not allowed to air election broadcasts that are likely to provoke, incite any unlawful, illegal or criminal act or be perceived as condoning or supporting such acts, according to the regulations.

Icasa spokesperson Paseka Maleka said they have received seven complaints relating to the municipal elections.

These include broadcasters having agreed to carry election broadcasts but later changing their minds after submissions were made, parties submitting their broadcasts later than required by regulations and non-broadcast of messages on television.

“Icasa is investigating and attending to all these complaints to make sure that there is equitable treatment of political parties by broadcasting service licensees during this election period,” Maleka said.

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