South Africa’s SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition has issued the following statement urging newly appointed Minister of Communications Dina Pule, who replaces Roy Padaychie, to prioritise broadcasting policy reform.
The statement reads: The SOS Coalition thanks Minister Padayachie and Deputy Minister Obed Bapela for their hard work and commitment to the communications sector over the past year. The Coalition in particular wants to highlight the progress made by Minister Padayachie in removing the controversial Draft Public Service Broadcast Bill in November 2010. After removing the Bill, the Minister promised to review the outdated Broadcasting White Paper, 1998. Further he promised to embark on a comprehensive economic modeling exercise before proposing a new economic model for the SABC and community media sectors. The Coalition welcomed these announcements.
In September 2011 he deepened this commitment to broadcasting reform by stating that the Ministry and Department would embark on a full Green Paper/ White Paper process focused on all three tiers of broadcasting including public, community and commercial – leading to comprehensive new broadcasting legislation. He promised to start the review process in 2011 and to complete this by 2013. The Coalition commended these announcements and promised to assist in whatever way possible.
The Coalition now welcomes new Minister Dina Pule and Deputy Minister Thembisa Stella Ndabeni. We wish them every success in their new portfolio and once again offer our assistance. Our hope is that they will continue the important work put in place by their predecessors. In particular we hope that they will prioritise broadcasting policy reform.
The SOS Coalition believes that the promised broadcasting policy review will resolve some of the structural and recurring problems of oversight, governance and funding that have plagued the communications sector and in particular our national broadcaster the South African Broadcasting Corporation. Further, our hope is that the review will ensure that the major potential benefits of the new digital multi-channel broadcasting environment will be comprehensively harnessed for the benefit of all our citizens.
The SOS Coalition represents a number of trade unions including COSATU, COSATU affiliates CWU and CWUSA, FEDUSA, BEMAWU and MWASA; independent film and TV production sector organisations including the South African Screen Federation (SASFED); and a host of NGOs and CBOs including the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI), Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-SA); as well as a number of academics and freedom of expression activists.