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If you are opposed to paying SABC’s proposed streaming fees you have five days to comment

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The public has five days left to make their voices heard about the proposed extension of SABC licence fees to streaming services.

The national broadcaster now wants the public to pay licence fees for watching Netflix and DSTV. Picture: Karen Sandison/ANA

The public has five days left to make their voices heard about the proposed extension of SABC licence fees to streaming services.

DA MP Phumzile van Damme said the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies would present the proposal today.

“The Democratic Alliance (DA) encourages members of the public to submit their views on the proposal.

“It is only through participatory democracy, where everyone has a say, that our democracy will thrive,” she said.

The proposal is contained in the Draft White Paper on Audio and Audio-visual Content Services Policy Framework.

She explained in terms of the Broadcasting Act, the public was required to pay a TV license fee for viewing broadcasting services, which includes subscription services like DSTV.

The purchase of a TV, regardless of whether one watches the SABC or not, requires the payment of a license fee for any broadcasting services.

Given the emergence of streaming services like Netflix, Apple +, Showmax, Amazon Prime and others, the White Paper broadens the definition of a broadcasting service to include online broadcasting services.

By implication, that requires the payment of a licence fee for viewing any broadcasting services, which would include streaming services, regardless of the device on which it is viewed.

Van Damme said the DA was opposed to any efforts that required any additional payment of TV licence fees.

“The public has already had to suffer the consequences of the billions in bailouts the SABC has received via the public purse,” she said.

Van Damme said the SABC had to find creative ways to self-sustain and break even without requiring the public to fork out more money.

She said the party noted the SABC has promised to take cognisance of the public outcry about the proposed licence fee.

The DA will make its own submission to the department regarding the proposal.

The portfolio committee will also discuss various other proposals made in the White Paper.

The public can comment until 4 pm on Monday, November 30, 2020.

Comments can be emailed to [email protected] or submitted in writing to:

The Acting- Director-General, Department of Communications and Digital Technologies

Block A3, IParioll Office Park, 1166 Park Street, Hatfield, Pretoria

Private Bag X860, Pretoria, 0001