South Africa: Minister Mokonyane to meet Sentech and National Community Radio Forum (NCRF) on debt owed to Sentech by community radio stations
The community media sector is a critical sector in the promotion of access to information, especially for rural and peri-urban communities
The Minister of Communications, Ms. Nomvula Mokonyane, will on Friday, 20 April 2018, meet with Sentech, the National Community Radio Forum (NCRF) and the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), as an attempt to resolve the current impasse which relates to monies owed by community broadcasters to Sentech.
Currently, community radio stations owe Sentech an amount of R 33 million for signal distribution services provided by Sentech to the broadcasters. This outstanding signal distribution fees have a potentially negative effect in the legal and administrative functioning of Sentech.
"The community media sector is a critical sector in the promotion of access to information, especially for rural and peri-urban communities. As government, it is our intention to prevent any further cuts in transmission by Sentech whilst ensuring that we immediately find a lasting solution to the debt-burden of community broadcasters."
Sentech has over the last week threatened to cut signal to over 17 community radio stations who have failed to pay the signal distribution fees due to Sentech.
"The meeting we have scheduled must assist us in finding the short-term solutions to prevent any disruptions in transmissions and enable us to develop a long-term and sustainable fiscal framework for community media that will promote the growth of the sector and enhance its ability to raise revenue and improve governance in the sector" said Minister Mokonyane.
The government is committed to ensuring that the community media sector is provided the requisite support to ensure its effectiveness in providing information to the most vulnerable and sometimes isolated communities. This commitment will extend to making the necessary interventions to strengthen governance and management at the Media Development and Diversity Agency, whose mandate is to develop the community media sector in South Africa.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information.