'Last hurdle' in the way of digital migration: Minister to oppose e.tv's ConCourt bid

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 The switch-off has been conducted in phases, with some provinces already having moved to digital broadcast signal.
The switch-off has been conducted in phases, with some provinces already having moved to digital broadcast signal.
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The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies will oppose a petition by e.tv to the Constitutional Court to hear its appeal against a High Court ruling that analogue broadcasting in SA should be switched off on 30 June.

The free-to-air broadcaster last week filed papers with the apex court seeking a review of the court ruling. It argues that the appeal is a matter of human rights and constitutional importance.

Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has indicated that the communications department, which is driving the digital migration process, will oppose the bid. The communications department believes the challenge is "unmerited" as it seeks to perpetuate digital exclusion. 

e.tv had opposed the 31 March digital migration deadline set by the government, claiming that the switch-off would leave numerous people who rely on free-to-air television without signal, with no access to news and other important information. The switch-off has been conducted in phases, with some provinces already having moved to digital broadcast signal.

Although the high court last month found that e.tv had failed to show the minister erred in setting the deadline for the switchover, or that government had failed to help poor households access decoders, it did extend the digital migration deadline by three months to the end of June.

But the extension did not appease e.tv, which went ahead with its direct application for appeal. 

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