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E.tv HEADS BACK TO COURT OVER DIGITAL TV

E.tv has filed an application for leave to appeal a judgment that went against it in the ongoing battle over whether South Africa’s digital terrestrial television signal will be encrypted.

E.tv has filed an application for leave to appeal a judgment by the high court that went against it in the ongoing battle over whether South Africa’s digital terrestrial television signal will be encrypted or not.

However, the free-to-air broadcaster is not seeking an interdict to stop government from moving ahead with its digital TV roll-out plans, a move that could have delayed the already long-delayed project from moving ahead.

The papers were served at the high court several weeks ago. However, the judge who presided over the case – and who must decide whether to grant leave to appeal – is currently on an extended holiday and is only expected to hear e.tv’s application in October.

In June, the court stated that amendments to South Africa’s broadcasting digital migration policy, gazetted in March, would remain in force.

The judgment was a significant victory for both communications minister Faith Muthambi and for DStv parent MultiChoice, which is vehemently opposed to government providing subsidised set-top boxes that use an encryption-based conditional access system.

The pay-TV broadcaster has argued, among things, that doing so would amount to unfair competition. E.tv, on the other hand, is strongly in favour of the use of such a system in the set-top boxes, arguing that it is needed to prevent the “ghettoisation” of free-to-air television in South Africa.

Muthambi’s decision not to require encryption in the set-top boxes was a reversal of an earlier cabinet decision.

In e.tv’s court papers, which TechCentral has in its possession, the broadcaster argues that the court erred on a variety of grounds in dismissing its application to have government’s amended digital TV policy set aside.

Source: Techcentral – Duncan McLeod