The public is invited to comment on the draft Public Service Broadcasting Bill, released by the Department of Communications (DoC). This follows a consultative process after the release of the Discussion Document in July this year. The Bill seeks to repeal the Broadcasting Act no.4 of 1999, so as to align the broadcasting system to the developmental goals of the Republic
Interested parties have until 7 December to prepare written submissions. The Draft Public Service Broadcasting Bill is available on www.doc.gov.za.
The Bill is in response to the Minister of Communications, General (Ret) Siphiwe Nyanda’s assertion who during his maiden Budget Vote Speech in June said, “A new vision and mandate for public broadcasting services in line with South Africa’s developmental agenda is required… The Department will therefore amend the Broadcasting Act, in consultation with all relevant stakeholders and rename it the public service broadcasting Act. The amendment will bring the charter in line with international best practice and ensure that the public broadcaster is best suited to our young democracy. The Department will introduce an appropriate funding model to ensure that the public broadcaster is not left to the vagaries of the markets.
Ø To this end, the Bill seeks to:
Ø establish a Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) Fund for public service broadcasting in the Republic;
Ø abolish television license fees;
Ø establish International Broadcasting Services (IBS) within the Corporation and clarify its role;
Ø transfer Channel Africa to IBS;
Ø revises the composition of the Board of the Corporation;
Ø introduces a performance management system for the Board;
Ø outlines the mandate of Sentech as a common carrier;
Ø clarifies the powers of the Minister in respect of public service broadcasting;
Ø provides Charters for the Corporation and Community Broadcasting Services;
Ø in line with the draft local content strategy recently released by the Department, the bill further provides for the licensing of Specialist channels prioritising: Children Programming, wild-life and documentaries.
Interested parties or individuals are invited to post their comments to Dr Mashilo Boloka, Director Broadcasting Policy, Private Bag X860, Pretoria 0001, or hand deliver to the doc at Block A3 first floor, iParioli Office Park, 399 Duncan Street, Hatfield or
email Miyelani @doc.gov.za or fax at 012 427 8059.
Enquiries relating to the Bill can be addressed to Ms Miyelani Khosa or Humbulani Rambau @ 012 427 8174 and 012 421 7046 respectively.