SABC wants South Africans to purchase TV licences for tablets, smartphones, and computer screens

News

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has expressed the intent to ask for ammendments to the Electronic Communications Act that would make it compulsory for South Africans to purchase TV licences for “all devices they can view content on”.

These amendments would mean that South Africans would have to purchase TV licences for devices such as smartphones, tablets and computer screens.

James Aguma, the new SABC CEO, addressing parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday, stated that the SABC is preparing for a severe decrease in revenue from TV licences.  We will have to make drastic changes just to make sure we can survive the current crisis, Aguma said.  The SABC had over R400 million in losses last year.

One of the contributors to the losses suffered, is the drop in listeners to several of the SABC’s major radio stations, such as 5FM and Metro FM, that followed an announcement by the former SABC CEO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, that 90% of the music played on radio stations has to be locally produced.

According to Aguma, people’s usage patterns have placed even more strain on the broadcaster which is already coping with a less-than-ideal economic climate.  Users are choosing to view television content on devices that the SABC cannot, under current legislation, tap for revenue.

Aguma stated that the organisation’s bad reputation made consumers unwilling to pay their TV licences, and admitted that it has also dissuaded advertisers to some degree.

Parliament was presented a report in March in which the Auditor-General highlighted R5,1 milliard’s worth of irregular expenditures.

Commentary

It is already surprising that the SABC had losses of only R400 million, considering they had ten times as much in irregular expenditures.

By hook or by crook (likely a bit of both) the SABC is going down the drain. It’s revenue is tanking, and in the midst of this decline the SABC has made a string of bad decision and committed what is probably the biggest mistake in South African broadcasting’s history.

First the SABC decided that it would not cover protests, a decision which was followed by unanimous public outcry and protests from journalists and reporters across the country and from every media.

Then they decide that 90% of all music played on radio must be by local artists, and 80% of all television content should be produced locally.  The South African media and music industries cannot produce enough quality content to fill such a gap, and this lead naturally to a severe drop in listeners and viewers.

All of this has tanked the SABC’s reputation, and as a result, it’s revenue.  But instead of performing some introspection and undoing some of their mistakes, they decide it is a good idea to shove their greedy fingers into the pockets of those who have already left their kingdom because they are unhappy with their content and policies.

It seems South Africa is taking cues from the German government, which recently decided that streamers require a €10 000 radio licence to stream.  But I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that the powers that be would want to extent their power and deepen their pockets.

This is clearly over reach on the part of the SABC.  Their youtube channels’ videos get less than a thousand views on average, often times only about 200-300, with barely any comment.  People aren’t watching the same content they previously would have watched on television, online, they are watching completely different content.  The SABC has no grounds on which to ask for this extension of the licencing requirements.


Their argument is literally:

  1. We aren’t making money.
  2. People are watching online content rather than ours.


Therefore we should tax those not watching our content and paying for it, as if they were.

This should be stopped.

My personal preference in regards to the use of ‘while’ and ‘whilst’ in academic writing

According to the Oxford, Webster, and Pharos dictionaries, both while and whilst have the same meaning.  While is the older, and whilst has since largely fell out of favour.  ‘Whilst’ is no longer used in the US, and – whilst still present – is not preferred in British English.

Personally, I find both have their uses.  Now, I need to clarify that there is no official semantic distinction between the two, what I am about to tell you is just my personal preference and usage.

I prefer to use ‘while’ for the standard meaning, that, to indicate that two things are happening at the same time.  ‘Whilst’, however, I use to indicate that, whilst things are happening at the same time, they are either unrelated, contradictory, opposite, or counter-intuitive, etc.

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USA plays the ‘TRUMP card’ – An example of a more objective take on Journalism

Comments

As most of you should have noticed by now, I have been railing against American journalism for some time.  I have criticised it for its coverage of current events, its bias towards one ideological standpoint, and its general content and conduct.  Well, today I present to you an article  written in the 2 February 2017 issue of our university’s student newspaper, the Wapad (lit. Where road).  I present this article as an example of what we would consider more ethical journalism.  The article is not perfect, as no article is, but it does – at least in my opinion – a far better job of being objective and fact-based than what we have seen from the subjects of my criticisms.  (Note the article itself is also written in comment on the way American news outlets have handled the Trump matter.)

I provide at the bottom of the article a link to the digital version of the newspaper for those who wish to read it for themselves.  The article is on page 10 of the newspaper.  Just note that the article is written in Afrikaans, which is why I provide an English translation beneath.

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Why do Americans no longer trust the media? – A Reputation Management perspective

Introduction

The American media (henceforth referred to as ‘the media’) has in the last decade lost the trust of the American public.  According to the latest Gallup (2016) poll, only 32% of Americans trust the media to cover news fully, truthfully and farly.  Contrast this with South Africa, where journalism as a profession is trusted by 65% of the population (GfK, 2014).  Why is this?

In order to understand this, it is necessary to understand reputation.  According to Aula and Mantere (2008) reputation is built on three fundamental aspects: being good, doing good, and looking good.

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The problem with Wikipedia; an academic source, or not?

Wikipedia is a wondrous source of information for the casual reader.  Dedicated contributors scour the internet and various other media in search of information and data, and bring them together in pages that neatly organise all that gobble-dy-gook into easily accessible, easily understandable articles for us to read an enlighten ourselves with.  But is Wikipedia a reliable source of information, and more importantly a source that can be referenced/cited in academic articles?

Let’s delve into this question.

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Use of ‘buzz-words’ and insinuative terms in South African media.

Over the past decade or so, especially in the past four to five years, there has emerged a worrying trend in western media, mostly American, British and continental European media, to use ‘buzz-words’ and insinuative terms in their reporting.  This trend seems to be in response to the emerging use of words such as ‘homophobia’ and ‘islamophobia’ as well as various other ‘phobias’ in especially third wave feminist groups and movements.

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