South Africa’s television migration from analogue to digital has been dragging on for some time, with government seemingly unsure as how to proceed. A big part of the migration to a digital signal is to acquire a set-top box, which will cost television viewers around R700 and R750. Without it, you will be unable to view broadcast.
It’s this reason that the Right2Know Campaign and the SOS Coalition will be taking a stand against the forced purchase of set-top boxes, and will be picketing outside the Universal Service & Access Agency of South Africa’s (USAASA) offices tomorrow, starting at 11am.
“Everyone needs to buy one, but this cost is unaffordable to many. Government has said they could give a discount to poorer citizens, but only if you can prove that you are poor through a long applications process,” the Right2Know Campaign said in a media statement.
The campaign aims to convince the government that it should be providing all citizens in South Africa with free set-top boxes, as it the group argues that no-one should be forced to pay for free-to-air broadcasts.
“As the R2K Campaign and the SOS Coalition we demand that Set-Top Boxes should be made available free of charge to all who need them. The government can afford to supply free set-top boxes to everyone. Why in South Africa should the people pay to continue receiving free-to-air TV (something that is supposed to be free)?” it added.
The Right2Know Campaign and the SOS Coalition chose USAASA’s office as the premise for the picket, as it is the organisation that has been tasked by the government with implementing the subsidy scheme to poorer households for the set-top boxes.[Source – Right2Know, Image – CC by 2.0/the autowitch]