Minister in the Presidency, Mr Jackson Mthembu and Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, have following ongoing reports pertaining to the shutdown of non-compliant community radio stations, liaised with the stakeholders – National Community Radio Forum (NCRF), Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) to urgently convene a meeting and find a solution that will not disadvantage communities and community radio listeners, most of whom are from vulnerable areas.
The Government Communications and Informations Systems (GCIS) said in a statement that the stakeholders have accordingly informed the Ministers that such a meeting will take place on 7 November 2019. Noting the intrinsic importance of signal distribution in this discourse, the Ministers advised the parties to also invite SENTECH to the meeting.
Ministers Mthembu and Ndabeni-Abrahams reiterate that the community media sector is an important vehicle that plays a catalytic development role, offering an alternative voice to communities and advancing social cohesion. It is therefore important that the sector be provided with all the necessary support to be compliant and sustainable in the changing communications landscape.
Whilst cognisant of the above, the Ministers called upon the community media sector to ensure compliance with legislative requirements as set in the Electronic Communications Act and utilise existing support mechanisms provided by both ICASA and MDDA, including the commitment by Government to reach out to communities using these platforms through the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)
The Ministers have also resolved to continue engagements with the respective portfolio entities towards finalising a support strategy which is imperative in finding a lasting solution for the sustainability of community media.
Further communication in this regard will be made following the afore-mentioned scheduled meeting.
Enquiries on the meeting can be sent to Nonceba Mhlauli on email@example.com or 072 623 3462 or Nthabeleng Mokitimi-Dlamini on firstname.lastname@example.org or 073 222 5522.