‘Pirate’ radio station issued court order by ICASA

Magareng FM, a community radio station in the Northern Cape, has been ordered to switch off by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA).

The regulator said the station received its first warning on March 25, 2009, when they wrote to Magareng FM telling them they should not be broadcasting because they had not complied with pre-licencing terms and conditions which required them to register as a non-profit entity.

Although the station did subsequently produce one, ICASA says they did not qualify for a licence because their constitution did not commit to an Annual General Meeting and an appeal process. The regulator also raised questions as to why their constitution was different to the one sent to the Department of Social Development.

An ICASA statement read: “The Authority’s Licensing Unit was of the view that Magareng FM has not complied with its pre-licensing conditions as outlined in the Authority’s letter dated 25 March 2009, and as a result cannot recommend that Magareng Community Radio be issued with a Class Community Sound Broadcasting Service licence, until such conditions are fulfilled.”

It added: “The Authority paid the station a visit and it was discovered that Magareng FM is providing an illegal broadcasting services on 90.7 MHz to the community in Warrenton without broadcasting service and frequency spectrum licences as required by the Electronic Communications Act.”

ICASA said they sent another letter on October 30, 2012, but after agreeing to meet with the station’s management to discuss the issues the management did not turn up.

ICASA has subsequently confiscated its broadcasting equipment.

Posted in: Telecoms

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