The Eswatini Communications Commission is a regulatory body established in terms of the Swaziland Communications Commission Act, 2013 responsible for regulating the electronic communications in the Kingdom of Eswatini. Section 6 (c) of the Act provides that the Commission shall regulate and supervise the provision of radio and television broadcasting services and the content of those services.
The Swaziland Broadcasting Bill, 2010 was drafted to give meaning and effect to Section 6 (c) of the SCCOM Act and seeks to provide for the regulation of the broadcasting sector. The Bill is awaiting Parliament adoption before it is assented into law.
The Commission is also ceased with full regulation of all radio broadcasting in Eswatini. Currently the Eswatini Broadcasting and Information Service is state owned and is a department within the Information, Communications, and Technology Ministry (Ministry of ICT). The Eswatini Government is currently working on a Bill that will bring Swazi TV and the Radio Broadcasting service into one entity. The Eswatini Broadcasting Bill, of 2013 seeks to provide for the establishment of the Eswatini Broadcasting Corporation, a national broadcaster for the kingdom of Eswatini by amalgamating the operations and resources of the Eswatini Television Authority and the Eswatini Broadcasting and Information Services and to provide for incidental matters.
The passing of the said Bill will fully empower the Commission to regulate the parastatal established to ensure that it operations is in line with the regulatory requirements as set out in the broadcasting Act and the Eswatini Communications Act, 2013.
ESCCOM’s Broadcasting Responsibilities
The Commission’s function in relation to Broadcasting will be as follows:
- Establish a strong and committed public broadcasting service which will service the needs of all Swazi society;
- Ensure that the commercial and community licenses viewed collectively, are controlled by persons or groups of persons from a diverse range of communities in Eswatini;
- Ensure that broadcasting services are effectively controlled by Swazis
- Integrate multi-channel distribution systems into the broadcasting framework
- Provide access to signal distribution services for content providers
- Provide access to signal distribution services for broadcast content receivers;
- Encourage the development of local programming content
- development of society , gender equality, nation building, provision of education and strengthening the spiritual and moral fibre of society
- safeguard, enrich and strengthen the cultural, social and economic fabric of Eswatini;
- Encourage ownership and control of broadcasting services through participation by persons from historically disadvantaged groups
- Ensure plurality of news, views and information and provide a wide range of entertainment and education programmes
- Cater for a broad range of services and specifically for the programming needs in respect of children, women, the youth and the disabled
- Encourage the development of human resources and training, and capacity building within the broadcasting sector especially amongst historically disadvantaged persons
- Encourage investment in the broadcasting sector
- Ensure fair competition in the broadcasting sector
- Ensure efficient use of broadcasting frequency spectrum
- Provide for a three tier system of public, commercial and community broadcasting services
- Provide a clear allocation of roles and assignment of tasks between policy formulation, regulations and service provision as well as articulation of long-term and intermediate-term goals