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MDDA introduces new funding application process

Broadcasters must register as NPOs to be considered

The Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), which supports community radio, newspapers and online digital platforms, has changed its funding application process.
The Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), which supports community radio, newspapers and online digital platforms, has changed its funding application process.
Image: Vukuzenzele

The Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), which supports community radio, newspapers and online digital platforms, has changed its funding application process.

Zukiswa Potye, the CEO of the MDDA, explains that the media will have a set period each year in which to submit funding applications. In the past, local media could make funding applications at any time and these would be processed by the agency.

Going forward, once the application period closes, a committee will sift through the submissions and identify media organisations that qualify for funding, she says.

The MDDA is also introducing new funding criteria. Broadcasters such as TV and radio stations now have to be registered as non-profit organisations to be considered for funding.

“Print and online publications can be registered as businesses,” Potye said.

The agency, which received clean audits for the past two years, is fixing some of its administrative lapses, she says.

In the 2020/21 financial year, the MDDA funded only six of the 170 community newspapers that applied for assistance. “This was because MDDA is funded through proceeds from the Government Communication and Information System, commercial broadcasters such as the SABC and MultiChoice, and donors, so it does not have the big budget that is needed to fund more community media entities.”

The commercial broadcasters are mandated by law to contribute 0.2% of their annual revenue to the MDDA, to enable it to fund community media entities.

The government is committed to spending 30% of its advertising budget on community media.

Deputy minister in the presidency, Thembi Siweya says this commitment helps ensure people who do not read or have access to the mainstream media are kept informed about government programmes and news. It also helps make community media publications and broadcasters economically viable.

The MDDA also provides training on how to run community media outlets, including how running costs can be reduced.

-This article was originally published in GCIS Vuk'uzenzele.

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