Lobby group Media Monitoring Africa has welcomed the recent decision by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) to award Kwesé Free TV a commercial free-to-air TV broadcasting licence and radio frequency spectrum. Last week, Icasa announced that Econet Media’s Kwesé, which is partially owned by Zimbabwean telecoms tycoon Strive Masiyiwa, has been awarded the licence. Free-to-air television licences are granted infrequently and this is only the second in SA’s history. Free-to-air broadcaster e.tv was awarded its broadcast rights 21 years ago. Icasa issued a new invitation to apply for the second free-to-air licence in 2018 after it had rejected previous applications in 2014. The companies that applied included Infinity Media Networks, which owns the now defunct Gupta-linked news network ANN7. The ANN7 news network was dropped from the DStv bouquet late in 2018. William Bird, the director of Media Monitoring Africa, said on Tuesday that Icasa’s decision was a welcome de...

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