Today in history: Midi TV awarded first privately owned free-to-air licence

By Drum Digital
30 March 2015

Enshrined in the South African Bill of rights, is the right to free access to information.

Date: 30 March, 1998

In this spirit, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa granted Midi Television, a free-to-air broadcasting licence. This licence was awarded on the 30 March 1998, and the channel, which was to be ETV, began broadcasting in October of this year.

This effectively created competition for the South African Broadcasting Corporation in terms of revenue streams derived from advertising. This act also demonstrated the government's willingness to defend the South African constitution and media freedom, thereby avoiding the utilisation of one public broadcaster as a means to disseminate propaganda, as the Apartheid government had done.

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