Community stations to produce content on immigration

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cape Town - Government will undertake a massive training programme for community radio and tv stations across the country to teach them how to produce content that will focus on immigration and unemployment.

The announcement was made by Communications Minister Faith Muthambi at the presentation of the departmental five-year strategic and annual plans to the National Council of Provinces’ Select Committee on Communications and Public Enterprises in Parliament on Wednesday.

“With regards to the sad attacks on foreign nationals … that we have been experiencing in the recent weeks, the department will work with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) and I-NESI (NEMISA) on programme production.

“We will be training stations, especially young men and women, on producing content that will deal directly with issues of immigration, job creation, crime and unemployment,” she said.

Minister Muthambi said they will partner with the public broadcaster because of the capacity it has in terms of writers and production facilities. They will also rope in BrandSA.

“As government, we are serious when we say these attacks should not happen in our name and we say no to them.”

Local government elections

From the third quarter of this financial year, the Minister said all institutions will also look at training community broadcasters on how to report and cover the local government elections.

Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape are the only provinces that had content production capacity and were actively involved in producing content.

“As government, we do not believe that it is necessary or a must that when you want to produce content about Umlazi or Mankweng or Matatiele or Sonderson, you will have to travel to Johannesburg.

“It is within this context that we have been collaborating with the Departments of Trade and Industry and Arts and Culture to finalise this strategy.

“The SABC has begun looking at this strategy and has started to produce content from various provinces through the envisaged provincial production hubs envisaged in this strategy. The production of Uzalo (a tv drama) is a case in point,” the Minister said.

She said the SABC’s experience in covering local and national elections will also come in handy in this regard for the underfunded and understaffed community broadcasters.

Minister Muthambi said the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) provincial and local liaison support systems have matured and are ready to deliver communication services to all corners of South Africa. 

“Access to information is the most important means to empower marginalised and poor citizens, many of whom reside in our rural areas. 

“The GCIS has prioritised its leadership of interdepartmental communication through joint planning and sharing of messages across the three spheres of government to ensure coherence of messages,” she said.

Imbizo programme

Minister Muthambi said the imbizo programme, which takes political principals to communities, is continuing to grow as they take government's Programme of Action to the people and listen to communities’ needs.

“This is an important part of accounting to our people and clarifying government’s policy. I am pleased to announce that in this Imbizo Focus Week in April 2015, we achieved more than 70 imbizo engagements and will sustain these through the year,” she said.

Support for community media

Minister Muthambi said the training and development of communicators in the provinces will receive renewed focus as they will build the capacity of communicators at municipal level.

She said this will entrench government’s rapid response to situations as they arise on the ground.

Government support for community media is unwavering, the Minister said, with more than R36 million of government advertising allocated to community media through media bulk buying.

The Minister said this investment makes a significant contribution to the sustainability of community media.

The Minister said the GCIS and MDDA will engage with Premiers to see to it that the 30% advertising spend earmarked for community media is cascaded properly.

She said Vuk’uzenzele will carry a new government jobs vacancy supplement from July.

The Minister said this allows people, particularly those in rural areas, to have the opportunity to apply for jobs in government as those adverts currently only appear in national newspapers, which people in rural areas do not receive.

“We are avoiding a situation where national government might be seen as involving itself in provincial matters. Through our engagements, we will also avoid duplication of resources,” she said. -