Journalist. Writer. Researcher. Editor.

World Press Freedom Day – at Rhodes University

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Today is World Press Freedom day, and in honour of that occasion my department of journalism and media studies at Rhodes University has organised two key events: the first is a meeting with the Support Public Broadcasting Coalition to discuss the possibility of an Eastern Cape branch; the second is a panel discussion about the future of South African Public Broadcasting. Please see the below email for more details.

I will be live-tweeting from these two events later today under the hashtag: #PBSA (Public Broadcasting South Africa).

Hi all,

The Rhodes University – School of Journalism and Media Studies, in
association with the SoS – Support Public Broadcasting Coalition and Media
Monitoring Africa (MMA), invite you to their World Press Freedom Day event,
which will debate the politics of public broadcasting in South Africa.

In 1991, African journalists and civil society drafted the Windhoek
Declaration which promoted independent and pluralistic media. To commemorate
this event, the United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 World Press
Freedom Day. 2011 marks 20 years of the Windhoek Declaration.

Ten years later, African journalists and civil society met again to develop
the African Charter on Broadcasting.

These documents still remain inspirational documents for all countries
seeking to transform their media systems.

South Africa has made great strides in transforming its state broadcaster
into a public broadcaster. But the broadcaster has experienced
numerous setbacks.

As we head up to the local government elections, political parties are
making many promises. What are they promising about public broadcasting? Are
they making promises that will make a difference to the residents of
Grahamstown and the Eastern Cape?

Recently, the SABC held a controversial electoral debate in Grahamstown. Are
Grahamstown and the Eastern Cape getting a fair deal from the broadcaster,
especially in the run-up to the local government elections?

This debate will involve the local representatives of the major political
parties and representatives of key local organisations, and will also
include responses to the inputs from the parties from the Support
Public Broadcasting Coalition and Media Monitoring Africa.

Panellists will debate the current state of public broadcasting, the
gains for public broadcasting as well as the causes of the many recent
problems at the SABC. What do political parties think needs to be done
to resolve these problems, and what do they think the long term future of
the sector should look like?

Issues debated will also include:

*The kind of progamming the SABC should be broadcasting.

*Mechanisms for public accountability.

*Mechanisms to ensure editorial independence.

*Appropriate funding models.

Date: Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Time: 18h00 for 18h15

Venue: Eden Grove Blue

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