Accumulation by symbolic dispossession: the Digital Terrestrial Television transition in South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research


Abstract: Policymakers have promised the world when it came to the migration from analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) broadcasting (Galperin, 2005; Freedman, 2008), and South Africa has been no exception to this general rule. In an attempt chart a way as an early adopter of technological innovations in the global South (especially in Africa), the South African government established a Digital Broadcasting Migration Working Group in 2005 to advise on the process, whicheventually led to a national policy document in 2008 (Department of Communications, 2008). From the start, the government was convinced that the digital switchover should not be left to the vagaries of market forces. They wanted a transition that was markedly different from a country like Canada, which allowed market forces to dictate the pace and manner of the DTT transition, and which did not necessarily lead to a more efficient broadcasting system or a greater selection of content (Taylor, 2010, 2013).