May 2015

Govt backs community broadcasters

Written by Edwin Tshivhidzo
Communications Minister Faith Muthambi says government will continue to nurture its relationship with community broadcasters, and has to date supported the sector with over R400 million.

“We will continue supporting their signal distribution costs and equipment infrastructure. We will also assist the sector in training their production and news teams in reporting and producing content for the upcoming local government elections,” she said.

Speaking at the 6th MTN Radio Awards held at the Sandton Convention Centre recently, Minister Muthambi said she believes that radio is the most effective tool that can be used to convey information to the people, especially information about nation building.

Minister Muthambi called on CEOs, programme managers and station managers to look at how they could partner with government, especially the Departments of Communications and Arts and Culture in promoting nation building and social cohesion.

The Minister said she would issue a directive to the Media Development & Diversity Agency (MDDA), SABC and officials from her department to work with the National Association of Broadcasters and National Community Radio Forum to come up with strategies to promote social cohesion.

“We will use our programme production funds to prioritise these initiatives and ensure that these programmes are [aired] on community and commercial radio stations because of their proximity to the communities experiencing [attacks against foreign nationals],” she said.

The Minister strongly condemned the incidents of violence against foreign nationals, saying this should not happen considering South Africa’s difficult past.

“I … am convinced that you are all going to join me in condemning the senseless attacks, killings and harassment of our African brothers and sisters by our fellow South Africans.

“This is not the freedom that Tata Mandela, Sisulu, Tambo, Luthuli, Makgatho, Mahlangu and Chabane fought for,” she said.

Several campus, community and commercial radio stations were among the big winners of the evening.

SAfm, Motsweding FM, 702, Tuks, Thobela FM and Jacaranda FM were among the winners for their programming, which ranges from afternoon drive shows and talk shows.

The MTN Radio Awards aim to recognise excellence in radio, with the objective of ensuring that radio remains one of South Africa’s foremost media choices.

It’s also about rewarding individuals and organisations who combine talent, hard work and skill to ensure that their listeners are compelled.

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