South Africa’s broadcasting policy landscape will come under much needed review in three weeks time with the launch of the Department of Communications’ Broadcasting Policy Review.
So said Minister of Communications Roy Padaychie in his Budget Vote speech at the National Assembly on 31 May. “This process will amongst others inform the interventions to be implemented in order to position the public broadcaster in the new digital environment. We will also use this opportunity to investigate an appropriate funding model for SABC to ensure that the provision of public service remains the SABC’s main priority.
“To fast track this process and to broaden the base of participation in this effort, I will constitute a panel of experts to assist with the policy review. This panel will advise on various policy issues, including embracing convergence and new media services, the creation of an enabling licensing and regulatory environment, the growth and development of local content industries, and the role of the three-tier broadcasting system – public, commercial and community broadcasting.’
The Minister made special reference to community broadcasting saying that it remained a critical project for the DoC. “Some R10m has been allocated to support the development of content by community radio stations. During this year, we will provide broadcasting infrastructure to fifteen (15) community stations and R6m has been allocated for this purpose. We will implement measures such as setting aside frequencies for community broadcasting, in particular Community TV, aimed at promoting the growth of this sector. A study is being conducted to develop a sustainability model for Community Radio Stations and TV. Informed by the outcome of the study, we will investigate the possibility of increasing our contribution to the sector to meet our goal of one municipality one community radio station.’