After four decades of tight government control of South Africa’s airwaves, the first steps have been taken to set up an Independent Broadcasting Authority based on the one operating in the United States.
On March 4, a multiparty panel began interviewing the 54 nominees for a post on the seven-member IBA, which is expected to be operating in time for South Africa’s first multiracial elections April 26-28.
Media lawyer David Dyson said the IBA’s primary role in the first phase of its life will be to reregulate pubcaster SABC, which in the past, allocated to itself whatever frequencies it required.
“If the IBA fails in this task,” Dyson said, “its ability to reregulate broadcasting in South Africa … will be severely hampered.”
Dyson said the IBA would also be forced to confront the clamor by private broadcasters for licenses denied when the nation was governed by the pro-apartheid National Party.
Those nominated to the IBA include journalists, media lawyers, actors, advertising executives and human rights activists.