Monday, November 22, 2010

SOS welcomes Minister's Review of the PSB Bill

The SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition

22 November 2010

The SOS Coalition welcomes the announcement made by the Minister of Communications, Mr Roy Padayachie to review the Public Service Broadcasting Bill. The Minister needs to be commended for his openness and responsiveness to communication stakeholder concerns articulated most recently at the Department of Communications oral hearings on the PSB Bill in Midrand last week.

The SOS Coalition would like the Minister to Review the Broadcasting White Paper, 1998 and as part of this:
  • Review the research done on the Bill particularly as regards the Bill's proposed funding models for public and community media. As a starting point the Coalition believes a detailed economic modelling exercise should be conducted to ascertain the actual costs of delivering quality, citizen-orientated programming in the public and community media sectors. These costs need to be considered in the light of the new, digital multi-channel environment. We commend the Minister for committing to this.
  • Review the Bill's governance proposals to ensure that there are clear lines of accountability and that the Minister is not given undue powers to intervene in terms of management issues at the SABC and in the community media sector.
  • Ensure that the broadcasting sector as a whole deepens the principles of the Constitution including most importantly the Constitution's commitment to socio-economic rights.
SOS believes that at the conclusion of the process the Department will need to look at the new Bills that need to be drafted and the Acts and regulations that need to be amended. What is critical going forward is that we have policy, legislative and regulatory alignment - in the public interest. It seems from the Minister's statements that the Department is committed to this important goal. Again we commend him for this.

Going forward, the SOS Coalition hopes that the Minister will launch a swift, inclusive, consultative policy review process. SOS promises to assist the Minister and Department in whatever way is possible. Collectively we need to create a broadcasting sector that is substantially strengthened to deliver quality, citizen-orientated programming and information for all.

For more information:

Kate Skinner – SOS Coordinator – (082) 926-6404
Patrick Craven – Spokesperson Cosatu – (082) 821-7456
Matankana Mothapo – Spokesperson Communications Workers Union – (082) 759-0900
Oupa Lebogo – General Secretary Creative Workers' Union – (084) 511-8763
Siphiwe Segodi – Coordinator Freedom of Expression Network – (072) 655-4177
William Bird – Director Media Monitoring Africa – (082) 887-1370
Faiza Abrahams Smith – Director Misa-SA – (076) 995-9513
Kgomotso Matsunyane and Feizel Mamdoo – Co-Chairs South African Screen Federation – (082) 901 - 2000
Ayesha Kajee – Executive Director Freedom of Expression Institute