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New challenge to South African switchover proposal

South Africa’s National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NAFCOC) is mounting a legal challenge against the country’s digital switchover plan, claiming it favours pay-TV service M-Net and does not make enough accommodation for black broadcasters.

South African regulator ICASA has already been forced to alter its switchover plan after a challenge by independent free-to-air channel e.tv. NAFCOC has now challenged ICASA’s decision to allocate a number of channels to M-Net, arguing that the Naspers-backed pay-TV service should only be given one channel.

Under the existing (revised) plans, state broadcaster SABC and Trinity Broadcasting Network will share one multiplex, carrying as many as 10 channels, while e.tv will have 50% of the second multiplex and M-Net will have 40%. NAFCOC argues that half the capacity on the second multiplex should be earmarked for black-owned content suppliers and broadcasters.