South Africa needs the SABC. Check your privilege if you don’t agree
The SABC needs additional revenue streams – most people agree.
It’s the “how” that has Mzansi hot under the collar.
The ailing public broadcaster has suggested that the government should force the likes of MultiChoice (owner of DStv) and Netflix to collect TV licences on its behalf.
Another suggestion – that the government should start requiring TV licenses for devices such as phones – went down like a lead balloon.
A privileged minority might scoff, but the fact is that South Africa needs the SABC; tens of millions of us rely on it, often exclusively, to access information and entertainment.
John Maytham interviewed Duduetsang Makuse, National Co-ordinator at The SOS Coalition, an organisation that campaigns for excellent programming in the public interest at the SABC.
There’s no clear way to generate revenue for the public broadcaster… It has a mandate; part of the content required by it simply wouldn’t be carried under commercial circumstances… it has to be funded to some degree by the public purse.Duduetsang Makuse, National Co-ordinator - The SOS Coalition
TV licenses is not working. It contributes less than 18% to the SABC’s revenues… If we collected 100% of TV licenses, we’d inject R900 million into the SABC every year…Duduetsang Makuse, National Co-ordinator - The SOS Coalition
The funding model itself needs to be done away with… There are a bunch of options on the table… Our inequality and unemployment don’t help the situation.Duduetsang Makuse, National Co-ordinator - The SOS Coalition
The expectation was always that the commercial side of the SABC would fund the public service channels. But, actually, it’s the public service channels that are generating more revenue… SABC’s local content is sitting at the top of what audiences are watching… [despite] this persistent narrative that the content is not great.Duduetsang Makuse, National Co-ordinator - The SOS Coalition
The SABC is a critical institution… Everybody who cannot afford DStv or another commercial entity would be left out… It’s not OK to leave certain groups behind because they can’t afford a media service.Duduetsang Makuse, National Co-ordinator - The SOS Coalition
Listen to the interview in the audio.
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