ITU: No extension to digital broadcasting deadline


HARARE – COUNTRIES that are likely to miss Wednesday’s deadline the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) set to switch from analogue to digital broadcasting have suffered a setback after the organisation insisted the deadline would not be moved.

There are indications Zimbabwe, alongside, Nigeria and South Africa, among other countries would not comply with the deadline.

ITU Media Relations and Public Information, Sanjay Acharya said the time limit would not be changed.

“I would like to confirm that there is no extension of the 17 June deadline,” Acharya said.

ITU Member States at the Regional Radio communication Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland in 2006 set June 17 this year as the deadline for the switchover.

As the specialised agency of the United Nations dealing with information and communication technologies, including Spectrum and satellite orbit issues, ITU applies the decisions of administrations at World Radio communication Conferences and Regional Conferences, such as those related to setting deadlines.

ITU said the countries that would not be able to implement the deadline will face an obligation to immediately resolve any harmful interference that might occur, either affecting neighbouring countries that have implemented the transition or emanating from other sources.

“And they will have abrogated their right to international protection,” ITU stated then.

Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe, the country’s broadcasting regulatory body, Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) confirmed last week that it would miss the ITU digital migration deadline.

Earlier on, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) Chief Executive Officer, Engineer Obert Maganyura, confirmed the country had faced challenges relating to the delivery of digital equipment and delays in beginning of the civil works for the installation of the transmission network.

He noted that the country would likely start receiving digital television broadcasts in November this year, five months after the ITU deadline.

Muganyura, however, noted that Zimbabwe had complied with conditions set out by the ITU for nations that fail to meet the migration deadline of not interfering with the digital transmission of their neighbouring countries.

The failure to meet the ITU deadline has become a cause for concern for the country’s media watchdog, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe).

MISA Zimbabwe Chapter’s Programme Officer for Broadcasting and IT, Kholiwe Nyoni-Majama, said information relating to Zimbabwe’s digital migration had remained inadequate and shrouded in inconsistencies.

She accused the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services as well as the players in the process, the ZBC, Transmedia and BAZ for giving the nation false hope that they would meet the deadline.

“These statements were against a contextual definition of compliance as presented by Minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo before a joint portfolio committee meeting for the ICT and Media committees on 18 May, 2015,” Nyoni-Majama said.

– CAJ News





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