Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) has turned down e.tv’s application to move a news bulletin outside prime time.

E.tv made the application in 2016 in response to the changing viewership patterns.

E.tv’s license requires it to broadcast at least two hours of news programming per day, of which at least 30 minutes must be packaged as a single programme and be shown during prime time — 6pm to 10pm.

E.tv said it was disappointed about Icasa’s decision as the channel had hoped that an amendment would afford it the flexibility to move its prime-time bulletin to a different time slot, outside of the prime-time window, in a bid to better cater to its viewers’ changing needs.

It said there was a change in the way South Africans were consuming news and a decline in the viewership of English prime-time news bulletins across all free-to-air channels in the country.

"We remain committed to providing our audience with independent news of the highest editorial standards, but we are disappointed that we have not been afforded the flexibility to do so within what we think are reasonable parameters," said Mark Rosin, chief operating officer of eMedia Investments.

Icasa’s acting chairperson Rubben Mohlaloga said the authority was of the view that removing the news from the prime-time slot "will not be in the public interest, which is a key mandate of the authority."

Icasa did not provide reasons for its decision.

Mohlaloga said the authority noted that broadcasting services played a crucial role in providing a platform for the expression of multiple views, entertainment and education.

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