Broadcaster must change

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

Concerned citizens and representatives of various civil society and media organisations yesterday resolved to take the crisis at the SABC as an opportunity to recommit themselves to the established and agreed principles of public broadcasting.

The representatives said they were committed to a public broadcaster that was independent from interference from the government of the day, political parties, and commercial and economic influence or interference.

"The main objective of public broadcasting is to serve the public and, therefore, we want to reclaim our public broadcaster, the SABC, for the public," the campaign coordinator Kate Skinner said.

She said the initiative had the support of the Media Monitoring Project, Open Society Foundation, Freedom of Expression Institute, the Media Institute of Southern Africa, the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism, the Black Film Makers Network, Wits University's Journalism and Media Studies departments, the University of Pretoria's law department, the National Consumer Forum, the Southern African Litigation Centre, Sangonet, Oxfam, Bemawu, the Interpress Service, MCM Digital Media and the Afrimap project.

A working committee comprising representatives of the key organisations was selected to expedite the campaign.

"We want to form a broad coalition to campaign for the strengthening of public broadcasting, comprised of a range and diversity of civil society, media groups, unions, other interested parties and members of the public to address mid- and long-term reform issues at the SABC."

The committee had also undertaken to approach Cosatu, Mwasa, TAC, Nactu and other interested groups and individuals, Skinner said.