Director's Blog

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

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.

50/50 - highlighting the potential of the SABC


50/50 Watch this programme!

Sometimes you aren’t sure about telling people about something good in case it ruins it.  Usually in the case of a restaurant if you tell too many people about it, it can get too popular, lose its charm and authenticity and become rubbish.  In the current instance, I am thinking of a television programme.  My fear isn’t so much about the programme becoming too popular, rather I think if it continues to fly under the radar it may just stay on air.

I’m talking about 50/50, a programme so good SABC marketing people never think to advertise it as a clear example of what our public broadcaster can do. 

Thank you South Africa thank you, the silly season…

If like me you don’t have satellite TV and you had a little more free time than normal over the last few weeks and rather than the wrestling feast that seems to be on e-tv almost 24hours a day…  Hang on, I know this is mid sentence but really there is a new programme on etv that makes Cheaters look like good television.  It is called Diva Diaries and it appears to be an excuse for scantily clad women to “wrestle.”  Now don’t get me wrong I am all for lowest common denominator media, we all need a break from reality and there is a lot to be said about tabloids and mind numbing television programmes but in the case of Diva Diaries it is just mind numbingly bad. Naturalising violence against women, stupidity and sexism in one programme is a minor feat I guess and it makes the other wrestling look like brilliant programming.