Media Development & Diversity Agency hosts Community Media Summit, 30 to 31 Jul

Sector-wide Summit to seek lasting solutions to challenges facing community media

In a milestone event for the promotion of media diversity, the Media Development & Diversity Agency (MDDA), together with the Department of Communications, and in collaboration with other entities, is hosting a Community Media Summit on 30-31 July 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. With the theme, Taking community media to the future, the Summit will bring all sectors of the community media, including print, radio, television and multi-media, together with Government and relevant stakeholders to explore new and innovative solutions to the challenges facing the sector for the short, medium and long-term.

The Minister of Communications, Nomvula Mokonyane and Deputy Minister of Communications, Pinky Kekane will give the opening and closing address at the Summit, indicating their commitment to the future, ongoing growth and sustainability of this critical sector within South Africa's media landscape.

As important drivers of media pluralism and freedom of expression, community media are the heart-beat of the communities, often located in provinces with limited economic activities, high unemployment and social inequalities. In such circumstances, community media elevates voices from marginalised communities, serving as a powerful platform to raise awareness around grassroots issues. Such principles of active citizenship are critical to the achievement of the National Development Plan objectives of social cohesion and nation building.

While there has been considerable progress in the diversification of the media and the growth of the community media sector since the liberalisation of the airwaves in South Africa started in 1990s, the sector is plagued by sustainability challenges, centring around, amongst others, financial and organisational weaknesses.

These challenges are exacerbated by the emergence and disruptive impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is radically transforming the business models of community media.

The summit will therefore focus finding a sustainable funding model for the community media sector, with key partners, who include, among others, government in all spheres, the private sector, and international and local donor partners. The Summit will also explore the state of readiness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution by community media and the development of a comprehensive programme to ensure community media benefit from digital migration.

The MDDA is proud to organise the Summit with the Honourable Minister of Communications as our host, commented Zukiswa Potye, Acting CEO of the MDDA. The thrust of the Summit is to craft a lasting solution to support the community media sector and we aim to emerge from the Summit with concrete proposals on which to develop a comprehensive programme of action.

The MDDA is a statutory development agency, deriving its mandate, from Section 16 and 32 of the Constitution Act No. 108 of 1996, thereby providing for freedom of expression and access to information. As a partnership between the South African Government and major print and broadcasting companies, it promotes and assists in the development of community media and small commercial media in South Africa and the transformation of the media, by providing support (financial, capacity building, etc.) in terms of the MDDA Act No 14 of 2002.

Source: Government of South Africa