Director's Blog

Discussing Media Freedom in Turkey

I was recently fortunate to be with a group of South African media people, in Istanbul to discuss issues relating to Media Freedom. The trip was organised and paid for by the Turquoise Harmony Institute and its focus was to engage with media practitioners and dialogue about our experiences on media freedom and journalism. Media freedom in Turkey is being further curtailed, and the immediate future looks very, very bleak for Turkey indeed. Here are five things I have taken from the experience, aside from the great food of course.

What is Wazimap?

William Bird, Director of MMA explains what Wazimap is, how to use it and how Wazimap can work for you! See one of MMA’s newest interactive online tools for journalists.

Three Takeaways from the Deutsche Welle, Global Media Forum

MMA’s Director, William Bird recently attended the Deutsche Welle, Global Media Forum in Germany. Read about the three key things that hit home and why these takeaways are important to MMA’s work.

We The People Campaign

We the people, is the preamble to the Constitution of both The United States of America and South Africa. It is also the title we have given an initiative we started to celebrate our constitution. It is 15 years old in February and despite the challenges we face in South Africa we think this is something to celebrate. Turns out a whole lot of others think so too. We have been overwhelmed by the support from some of the biggest stakeholders in the country. From Parliament and the ANC to crucial NGO’s and massive media companies, Media 24, Mnet, Kagiso, Avusa Print Media South Africa and more.

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SABC - helping to protect children?

SABC’s new “Hold My Hand” initiative aimed at helping protect children begs the question: what is SABC doing to help South Africa’s most vulnerable citizens? Not enough says MMA Director William Bird

A case of politics before principle?

Is a move to more independent regulation of print media a good idea? If this means a new structure along the lines of that being proposed in Rapport’s Editorial then I am not so sure!

SABC in danger of becoming a state broadcaster

The SABC is in the news again – for all the wrong reasons – again.  We are almost getting used to this.  This time however it is different.  This time after an interim board had worked tirelessly to secure a loan agreement to allow the SABC to operate, after so many committed staff had ensured that despite the chaos the SABC still goes on air, even with one or two good programmes, (I would have said three or four but these other two are just repeats.  Even the new 50/50 is a sad shadow of itself with more glitz but far less quality and content). 

Another SABC Public Mandate Bungle?

A story in the Sowetan, focused on how the SABC has bungled its own arrangements for finding a venue for its World Cup broadcast.  According to the story SABC’s World Cup broadcasts were originally intended to be based at Nasrec – which if I recall correctly is the venue of the Media Centre for the World cup – so that at least made sense, as they would be with all the other media, making all the big personalities and celebrities easier to access, and they may even have had a view of the World Cup Calabash stadium in the background.  This I can understand.  What I cannot understand is why Sandton Convention Centre??

Funding challenge and undervaluing the public service

Funding is one of the biggest problems the SABC faces.  But it seems to me that they are missing using some of their best programming and most profitable channels to answer some questions about how best to proceed.  A new and creative model and should explore some of the alternatives, and I think, surprise surprise, that a policy review process would enable us all to do this, and this will take time - so I also think we need to see if we can get SABC to operate more effectively as it is.

SABC in crisis but still broadcasting

Our public broadcaster is in crisis, nothing new there.  The SABC manages to confound and amaze, nothing new there either really.  It amazes because despite all the crises we really do need to give credit to those who ensure that it is still ticking over.