Journalist. Writer. Researcher. Editor.

Support Public Broadcasting (in the Eastern Cape) – Agenda

Here is agenda for the aforementioned panel discussion that I will be live tweeting from later tonight – “What kind of broadcaster does the Eastern Cape need?”

Director of Media Monitoring Africa, William Bird (@billbobbird), will be speaking, as well as various political representatives. Additionally, the spokesperson for the Grahamstown Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM), Xola Mali, has also been invited to speak. Mali and the founder of the UPM, Ayanda Kota, were arrested during service delivery protests earlier this year. Allegedly, this was because service delivery protesters, not necessarily affiliated to UPM, had set-up road blocks in parts of Grahamstown. According to the UPM leaders, this was because police officials had verbally threatened to shoot the protesters, after they failed to vacate the Grahamstown municipal buildings. Apparently, the protesters had a ‘sit-in’ in the building for more than 48 hours, and instead of meeting the protesters as she had promised, municipal manager Ntombi Baart had the police remove the  protesters by force.

The arrested UPM members were released on bail, and disturbingly, the terms of their bail directly infringe on various of their constitutional rights:

[The arrested UPM members] can’t participate in any march or demonstration and they can’t address any crowd they must stay at least 100m from the Makana Municipality and the Magistrates Court. They must never been seen inciting people to protest.

Kota and Mali are, in effect, forbidden from organising and participating in public expressions of the right to freedom of speech, according to former director of the Freedom of Expressions Institute (FXI) and media specialist, Jane Duncan.

I will write more about the history of the UPM in the coming weeks.

The UPM’s attendance at this meeting is an important step in getting poor communities in South Africa to have buy-in in the South Africa mediascape, and I look forward to their participation.

What kind of public broadcaster does the Eastern Cape need?

School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University, in association with SoS –Support Public Broadcasting Coalition and Media Monitoring Africa


3 May 2011


18. 00 – 18.10 Welcome, objectives and ground-rules (Prof. Jeanne Prinsloo, Dept. of Journalism and Media Studies)

18.10 – 18.20 Input on project by third-year students, School of Journalism, on findings of focus groups on SABC in Grahamstown (Danika Marquis, radio lecturer, Dept. of Journalism and Media Studies)

18.20 – 19.10 Panel debate (7 minutes per speaker)

  • Azanian People’s Organisation – Nontobeko Yawa (Deputy Secretary general)
  • African National Congress – Mcebisi Jonas  (MEC for Economic Development and Environmental Affairs, Eastern Cape)
  • Makana Independent New Deal – Jock McConnachie (Interim Chairperson)
  • Democratic Alliance – Michael Whisson (DA councillor – Makana Municipality)
  • Congress of the People – Nozipo Plaatjie (Regional Chairperson, Cacadu Regional Women’s Movement)
  • New Unity Movement – M.P. Giyose (Chairperson)
  • Unemployed People’s Movement – Xola Mali (spokesperson)

19.10 – 19.20 Responses – Save Public Broadcasting Coalition – Kate Skinner (co-ordinator)

19.20 – 19.30 Responses – Media Monitoring Africa – William Bird (Director)

19.30 – 20.15 Open debate from panel and floor

20.15 – 20.20 Closure and vote of thanks (Anthea Garman, Acting HoD: Dept. of Journalism and Media Studies)

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