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About: community broadcasting in south africa

Fri, 30 May 97 08:51:00 PDT

Originally from: "Raa" <>
Originally dated: Fri, 30 May 97 08:51:00 PDT


BROADCASTING - Community broadcasters in South Africa have called
for a temporary mechanism to be put in place to ensure that the
community broadcasting sector is not compromised in any way as a
result of a crisis in the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA).
The statutory authority, which regulates broadcasting in South
African and sets policy for public broadcasting, was plunged into
its worse crisis on May 15 when five of its seven publicly-appointed
councillors resigned. The move came shortly after the council voted
unanimously to suspend its Chief Executive Officer and followed hot
on the heels of a damning report by the Auditor-General into the
financial practices of the authority. The report by the A-G detailed
large scale financial mismanagement and lack of financial controls.
In a joint statement released on May 16, the National Community
Media Forum (NCMF), the National Community Radio Forum (NCRF) and
the Open Window Network (OWN), representing the interests of more
than 80 community broadcasters, expressed concern that some
community radio stations, whose temporary licences were due to
expire, could be forced off air unless their licences were renewed.
The three organisations pointed out too that there was a long list
of aspirant community broadcasters awaiting decisions by the IBA on
licence applications. To prevent these communities from being
adversely affected by the current crisis, the organisations called
for a temporary mechanism to be put in place. On May 19, the
Minister of Communication, Mr Jay Naidoo, announced that the
government had accepted the resignations of the five councillors but
that they would work a three-month period of notice to ensure the
IBA discharged its duties. A spokesman for the minister added that
steps would be taken to "fast-track" the appointment of new
councillors in order to minimise disruptions to the IBA's work
schedule. Meanwhile, the Business Day newspaper quoted unnamed
government sources as saying that the current crisis in the IBA
might lead to an earlier-than-expected merger between the IBA and
the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SATRA).
There are concerns that a merger earlier than planned would rob the
IBA of its independence since SATRA, which was launched earlier this
year, is directly under the control of Minister Naidoo. The ministry
had originally envisaged a 18-month period before the two
organisations were merged.

Bruce Girard Agencia Informativa Pulsar
Fono/Fax: +593-2-501 180 o 551 674
Fax en Montreal, Canada: +1-514-221-2009
Av. Atahualpa 333, Casilla 17-08-8489, Quito, Ecuador

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