Eyewitness News has learnt that the Communications Department and DStv have lodged appeals at the Constitutional Court, accusing of wanting government to pay for it to be able to start encrypted pay-TV services.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has already reversed a decision by Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, to roll out unencrypted Digital Terrestrial Television services. says if it can’t broadcast through an encrypted system, it won’t be able to show high-quality content, and diversity will suffer.

In its court documents the Communications Department says the only aim it has is to help poor people gain access to digital television signals and that it doesn’t need to encrypt the signals to do that.

The department says eTV wants encryption to avoid having to pay the cost of giving people its own set-top boxes.

The department also says that the boxes are meant to be temporary and would fall away as people replace their analogue TVs with digital sets over time.

But it says if encryption is used, then these boxes would have to stay permanently.

The South African Communist Party (SACP) has accused Muthambi of openly defying the African National Congress (ANC) on this issue, after the party said it wanted an encrypted system.


Source: Eyewitness News – Stephen Grootes