SABC on the attack after scathing research report

2012-09-07 09:25

The SABC has gone on the defensive and has launched an attack on Media Monitoring Africa’s (MMA’s) report findings.

The SABC said that it finds it “disappointing that the organisation chose to make public findings that are based on dubious methodological methods that were conducted in isolation”.

The SABC said the MMA’s only intention with the research study was “simply to grandstand the SABC”.

The MMA’s research found that the SABC is awash in repeats, soap operas and not meeting its language mandates.

The MMA decided to analyse the SABC’s schedules between April to mid-May and watched all of the news bulletins after which it compiled the scathing research findings, indicating that more than 20% of the SABC’s programming comprises repeats, with soap operas dominating and the quality of news and language diversity suffering.

“There is no basis for the criteria assumed by MMA in assessing the corporation’s performance,” said the SABC in a press statement.

“The SABC operates within the ambit of licence conditions, regulations and legislation wherein the criteria is fully set for assessing the SABC’s performance,” said the public broadcaster.

Research was self-serving
The SABC said the research conducted by MMA “was self-serving and never sought to test the SABC’s performance against the regulatory requirements set by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa – the only authority and legitimate body with genuine power to assess the performance of the broadcaster”.

According to the MMA research, although English is only spoken as a first language by 8% of the population and the SABC is required to broadcast in all official languages, English dominates in SABC programming (76%).

A massive 65% of all locally produced content broadcast by the SABC is in English.

The next biggest languages trailing far behind are Afrikaans at only 6% and Zulu (5%), Xhosa, Sotho and Tshivenda (3%).

According to the MMA research, SABC1 uses 28% of its broadcasting time for repeat programming, SABC2 uses 21% of its airtime for repeats and SABC3 allocates 15% of its broadcasting time for repeats.

Furthermore, only 41% of the content on SABC3 is local.

That means that almost a quarter – 21% of all broadcasting time on the SABC – is devoted to re-broadcasts.

Public forum
The SABC said “the methodology applied in determining percentages on genres and languages is flawed and has no basis in the license conditions or regulations”.

“It is clear from our review of the document that the intention was simply to grandstand the SABC.

“It is of grave concern that MMA, which is supposedly an industry leader in its field, despite acknowledging its own limitations in the research, continued to make the report public.”

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