Minister of Communications Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri launched the Digital Broadcasting Advisory Body (DBAB) and a production counterpart in early March 2001. The DBAB was established under provisions in the White Paper on Broadcasting Policy and the Broadcasting Act and is made up of 16 members from across industry and academia. The DBAB is to advise government on high level policy in the sector and to provide input to other advisory processes and bodies such as Thabo Mbeki's presidential taskforces on technology and communications.
Government established the two bodies in order to keep in step with global technological developments, and continue to find innovative ways to promote local content in the changing broadcasting and communications environment, the department of communication said in a statement. The DBAB will determine the actions government needs to undertake to maintain competitiveness, quality and quantity in the digital environment Matsepe-Casaburri says the ideal is to devise a long-term strategy to ensure that all South African lives are touched by and benefit from new digital technologies.
The DBAB will be headed up by Alison Gillwald director of the LINK (Learning, Information and Knowledge) centre of the University of the Witwatersrand.
Gillwald, chairperson of the DBAB, says she hopes it could help eliminate uncertainty about digital broadcasting in general.Digital broadcasting in a developing country like SA has a catalytic role to play in strengthening knowledge infrastructure.
The DBAB will tackle the issues in five Working Committees:
- Definitions trends,
- scope Economic implications and
- market study
- Legal and regulatory A final report is expected within 12 to18 months.
SADIBA delegates met with Gillwald in early April 2001 and discussed the possibility of contributing to the processes and providing input where appropriate. As a first contribution SADIBA will in partnership with international delegates arrange an Industry Workshop as well as a closed presentation session with DBAB on the technical, commercial and regulatory models being pursued world-wide. The Industry workshop is planned for mid July 2001.
(The above draws on the ITWEB article by Phillip de Wet, Johannesburg, 12 March 2001)