Friday, June 26, 2009

SASFED - A week of turmoil as reported in the media.

The list of recent events is hard to sum up by literally massed of media coverage. It seems there is so much to say about the SABC, ICASA and our industry in general, what with only one board member left on the SABC, and a former CEO back at SABC, parliament lambasting the SABC board, the board blaming management (not that they are not also to blame), the new Minister of Communications getting ready for a bail out, but still not actually meeting with our industry, and ICASA refusing to regulate despite SASFED making a very clear case to do so. Lets take a look at some highlights we found for you. Articles where if you missed them, you missed out:

Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda on Wednesday called for state funding for the embattled SABC to be increased. However it seems he made it clear government wont be paying a majority towards SABC, just an increased amount.

A blog by Brenon Edmonds wrote a really great piece on the SABC debacle on the Mahala blog. The article raises some very interesting points, including that according to the article, 38% of the operating budget went to staff costs last year. But only 22.5% went to film, sport and broadcast costs! Considering broadcast costs are high, you can be sure we are talking a low percentage to content. To argue therefore that "local content" is the large expense area of the SABC appears to simply not be true. The article argues that the "headcount costs" and especially senior headcount is disproportionate to content.

It seems ICASA feels there is no need to "regulate" or level the playing fields, when the broadcasters have called for "self regulation", why not give it to them Also seems as if the idea of balancing the IP rights in terms of trade is also something they would rather not get involved in. Seems they have been persuaded by the broadcasters to shift responsibility exclusively to Department of Trade and Industry and the Companies ad Intellectual Property Registration Office. Former SASFED chair Rehad Desai is quoted in this article as disappointed with ICASA's position, and point to the lack of regulation in an unbalanced relationship between broadcasters and independents.