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03 November 2009

Controversial Public Services Broadcasting Bill - SOS Initial Content

The following article from Business Day on the new and highly controversial Public Services Broadcasting Bill - which was launched to an SOS Round-Table on Thursday for comment. SASFED was present and worked with SOS on quickly reviewing the bill which plan to completely replace the Broadcasting Act of 1999.

Original story can be found at:

The News By Nyanda?

Published 2009/10/31 08:30:54 AM

TAXPAYERS should contribute at least 1% of their personal income tax to fund the development of broadcasting, the new Public Service Broadcasting Bill proposes.

The bill, published this week for comment, also scraps television licence fees, gives substantial power to the communications minister over the SABC board and “any entity identified in the act” if it’s believed they are unable to perform their functions .

The draft legislation, which controversially went directly from a discussion document to a bill, is being presented as an amendment to the present Broadcasting Act of 1999. But Kate Skinner, spokeswoman of the Save Our SABC Coalition, says it is “a complete repeal of the Broadcasting Act”.

Members of the coalition— among others the Freedom of Expression Institute, Media Monitoring Africa, unions in the broadcasting sector and academics — met in Johannesburg on Friday to discuss the bill.

Skinner says they decided to appeal to Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda for more time to make submissions. The department has asked for public comment by December 7.

“The bill is a major shift from the previous legislation,” she says. “It is not an amendment but a complete repeal of the existing legislation and outlines what they want the broadcast environment to be. The inclusion of a broadcast fund is a brand new idea.”

Nyanda described the bill in his b udget s peech in June as “a new vision and mandate for public broadcasting services in line with SA’s developmental agenda”.

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