Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) document provided for supporting the media diversity as essential to transform the South African society.
In 1995, the community media sector met in Cape Town under the banner of a conference called “Community Media 2000”. Among its recommendations was a formation of an “Enabling Support Mechanism” or “Media Development Agency”.
In its report “Communications 2000 – A vision for government communications in South Africa”, COMTASK recommended that government facilitate the process of setting up a statutory recognised media development agency for the dispensing of subsidies to the sector. (Comtask Final Report, Recommendation 79).
The MDDA is entrusted with the responsibility of promoting media development and diversity in S.A. by providing financial and other support to community (non profit) and small commercial media projects.
Help create an enabling environment for media development and diversity that is conducive to public discourse and which reflects the needs and aspirations of South Africans.
Highway Africa 2008 Objectives of the MDDA Act – Section 3
Encourage ownership and control of, and access to, media by HDC as well as by historically diminished indigenous language and cultural groups;
Encourage the development of human resources and training, and capacity building, within the media industry, especially amongst HDG’s;
Encourage the channeling of resources to the community media and small commercial media sector;
Highway Africa 2008 Objectives of the MDDA Act - Section 3
Raise public awareness with regard to media development and diversity issues;
Support initiatives which promote literacy and a culture of reading;
Encourage research regarding media development and diversity; and
Liaise with other statutory bodies such as ICASA and USA (now USAASA).
Highway Africa 2008 The MDDA is governed by a Board of Directors, appointed in terms of the MDDA Act. It operates as an independent body, expected through the MDDA Act to be impartial and to exercise its powers, perform its duties without fear, favor or prejudice, and without any political or commercial interference. (Section 4, MDDA Act). Corporate Governance
MDDA Act defines media as all forms of mass communication, including printed publications, radio, television and new electronic platforms for delivering content.
Media development is referred to as the development of the media environment and infrastructure so that historically disadvantaged communities and persons have access to the media as owners, managers, producers and consumers of media.
Sustainability in the media environment means an ability to sustain the media business (e.g. newspaper, magazine, TV or a radio station)
Sustainability is linked to the following factors:
business models used
Sustainability in the Media Environment
Highway Africa 2008 Sustainability in the Media Environment
There are several major factors that inhibit sustainability in the media business (to mention but a few):
Lack of capital
Poor financial practices
Unstable business environment
Lack of management skills
Highway Africa 2008 Media as Business Business tools to achieve sustainable levels in media businesses S Curve model (a central analytical tool) to observe media business progress from start up to long term sustainability and to identify problem areas for business growth. (Prof Graeme Addison’s Report for the MDDA, entitled Printing, Distribution, Circulation and Marketing of the Grassroots Press in South Africa. www.mdda.org.za )
According to IREX Media Sustainability Index ( http://www.irex.org/about/index.asp ) – there is a need to assess five “objectives” to establish whether there exist a sustainable media in a given context:
Legal and social norms protect and promote free speech and access to public information.
2. Journalism meets professional standards of quality.
3. Multiple news sources provide citizens with reliable and objective news.
4. Independent media are well-managed businesses, allowing editorial independence.
5. Supporting institutions function in the professional interests of
Towards a Media Sustainability Index
Highway Africa 2008 Possible Solutions to media Sustainability
Prof Banda in his matrix of the Framework for the Development of sustainable and pluralistic media, Aug 22, 2007, talks to:
Constitutional, Policy and legislative solutions.
Creating an enabling environment.
Skills and capacity building
Professionalism and ethics
Highway Africa 2008 Funding challenges and options
Creative ways of funding needs to be explored, explore business models informed by the new media and new technologies, innovation, etc..
2. Support needed for country initiatives like the Media Development and Diversity Agency (in the case of S.A., which is a unique initiative that is a partnership between Government and the media industry),
3. Regional initiatives like the Southern Africa Media Development Fund (SAMDEF, in the SADC region), and
4. Other continental initiatives towards an African driven media development and funding solution.
The era of convergence and digitisation provides for an opportunity for growing the communications industry and therefore, facilitate economic growth and development, empowerment, people driven democracy and poverty reduction.
As MDDA (in our small way) we hope –
to ensure diversity of media in each and every municipal district of our country.
to ensure increased media in different indigenous languages, reflecting diversity,
to ensure rural and poor communities are empowered, and we have an informed society.