100 signatures reached
To: The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications and Digital Technologies (PPCC) and the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT).
Withdraw the flawed SABC Bill!
We want the PPCC to:
- Withdraw the SABC Bill and refer it back to the DCDT for amendments.
- Oversee and enforce correct lawmaking process regarding the Draft White Paper on Audio and Audiovisual Media Services and Online Safety (AAVCS).
We also call on the DCDT to:
- Acknowledge and engage with the public comments made to the second AAVCS Draft White Paper.
- Finalise the AAVCS Draft White Paper.
- Re-draft sections in the SABC Bill that threaten democracy, media freedom and the independence and sustainability of the SABC.
- Hold a public comment process before the Bill is introduced in Parliament.
Why is this important?
As South Africans, we love watching television to see shows and stories that are made for us and about us. The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is our public broadcaster and many of us rely solely on the SABC for freely-accessible, quality news, information and entertainment.
The SABC has shaped our understanding of the world from childhood through numerous locally-produced shows. Historically shows like Yizo Yizo, Umzi Wezinsizwa, Generations, etc. reflected the stories and the diversity of South African citizens. Currently, locally-produced shows such as Skeem Saam, 7de Laan, and Uzalo are telling our unique stories. This also means that South African producers, directors, actors, and artists are employed.
The SABC plays a significant role in shaping public opinion, setting the national agenda and promoting social cohesion and cultural diversity. The SABC has six television channels and 19 radio stations, with millions of South Africans relying on them for information. Through these channels SABC news and information helps us citizens make informed decisions about our lives, communities and the country at large. The SABC provides information in all our official languages so that each of us are spoken to in a language we understand. Our South African musicians and cultural groups are able to showcase their music and other artistic forms through the SABC, which helps to foster social cohesion and promote our diverse cultures.
Over the years, the SABC has faced numerous challenges including financial problems, political interference and lack of credibility and transparency. These challenges have led to the deterioration of quality news and information and have severely tainted trust in the public broadcaster. A new SABC Bill is necessary for mitigating the ongoing challenges at the SABC, such as granting it greater independence from political interference, bolstering its ability to hold the government to account and providing a sustainable model for the Corporation to play its role in providing diverse content to reflect the needs, interests, and perspectives of the South African public.
The SABC Bill poses a threat to the SABC’s existence and to our democracy. Instead of cultivating the public broadcaster to ensure it is more sustainable and effective in achieving its objectives, if the Bill is passed in its current state it will jeopardise the SABC’s independence and prevent citizens from getting the impartial, credible, and quality news and information.