In 2006 at the International Television Union Regional Conference, Africa agreed collectively to move away from analogue TV and to start a nine year phase in program to digital broadcasting. People whispering “it’s about time” could be heard all over the country. The long wait was finally over. The decision was made in the hope that by 2015 all analogue stations would be “switched off.”
Technically put, this transition means that 100 million households across Africa would need to invest in gadgets (set top boxes, satellites etc). Currently, seven years after the program’s conception only 2.5 million households have made the transition. With the total transition cost ranging between $23 and $76, not everyone can put it on his list of priorities in a place like Africa. What’s going to happen to them when the big SWITCH OFF roles round in 2015? Are they supposed to live without televised entertainment because they can’t afford it? Have the African governments made televised entertainment a luxury?
In addition to this, those making the transition have to worry about the repercussions of the content they are letting into their homes. Digital television has increased local content on the continent; but it has also made it easy for international content to become more available. Some of the content being viewed does not always sit well with African morals and values, things that I think we need to hold onto. As a direct result of viewing international programmes, girls have become more concerned with what they are wearing instead of what they are reading; promiscuity is something that has become “acceptable”, children are disregarding their parents’ wishes more and more… the list is devastating and endless.
I personally welcome anything that would benefit Africa, but with all things we must find a way to tailor this to best suit us. Our children must be protected from inappropriate content and governments must consider those who cannot afford “luxury services” it when making a decision.
Photo credits: chimpreports.com