Over 40 South African community radio stations could be shut down due to lack of licences, crippling debt and funding.
According to IOL, Thabang Pusoyabone, secretary for the National Community Radio Forum (NCRF), stated that community stations in the country are under attack by stakeholders who should be empowering their advances, instead 25 years later, these stations are being knocked down.
Bush Radio has asked the government to intervene
The stations that could be cancelled include, Zibonele FM, UCT Community Radio, The Rock FM, Radio Kaap se Punt and Franschhoek Community Radio.
Bush Radio -“the mother of all community stations”- is fighting to keep its life through crowdfunding campaigns and have requested government assistance, just to stay afloat.
“Bush Radio strongly urges our democratically elected government to intervene in this matter. We ask ICASA to look at a positive resolution to help secure the future of the community radio sector,”
Adrian Louw, Bush Radio
ICASA has shut-down 43 radio stations
On Friday, it is reported that the NCRF held a meeting with its Central Executive Committee (CEC) in Durban, to formulate a plan and respond to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) having shut down 43 stations.
“The CEC has noted that this is the second onslaught on the community radio sector, where over 40 stations have either been shut down or threatened to be shut down. The real threat to the community radio sector is that it has become easier for the state to close community media projects. That is risky for media freedom and diversity in the country.”
Thabang Pusoyabone, secretary for the National Community Radio Forum (NCRF)
A planned protest is scheduled for 8 November
Pusoyabone has stated that the community radio sector and its supporters, need to plan a strike and present a list of their grievances to the:
- Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu;
- Communications Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams;
- Icasa’s acting chairperson, Keabetswe Modimoeng;
- Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) board chairperson, Ndivhuho Norman Munzhelele.
The Central Executive Committee cries out to everyone who supports freedom of speech, media diversity and access to information to join their cause and march.
The planned protest is scheduled on 8 November, and is said to form part of a “roadshow workshop”; where it actively educates the public and further proves how the government still fails to deliver on its vow to contribute 30% of its advertising budget, to support community media and to bail out signal distribution costs of Sentec.