Community media leaders in South Africa have openly expressed their joy after the news came out that at least 30% of government advertising may be allocated to community media.
Despite boasting a pool of talent and growing faster more than any form of media in the country, South Africa’s community and small commercial media is still severely under-funded and struggling to survive.
Thousands of media start-ups, mostly newspapers, magazines and online outlets, have been forced to close down in the past 10 years or so due to lack of support from big business and government.
But the news by the State-Owned Entities Communicators Association (SOECA) and the State Owned Enterprises Procurement Forum (SOEPF) that community media and small commercial media may be allocated a third of government advertising has been received with joy.
The Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), an organisation that supports community and small commercial media despite operating with a very tight budget, was said to be over the moon last night.
“The agency applauds the leadership of SOECA and SOEPF on giving meaning and effect to both MDDA Act and the call by the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications for a minimum of 30% government advertising to be allocated to community and small commercial media,” MDDA CEO Lumko Mtimde said today in a statement.
“As we celebrate our 20 years of democracy and 20 years of community radio, this significant decision will ensure that the support go a long way towards ensuring that community and small commercial media become sustainable, and continue to play the critical role of educating and providing information to communities,” Mtimde added.
Photo by Afronline