Can save SABC TV3

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

ECENT re­ports have in­di­cated that the view­er­ship num­bers of SABC TV3 are slump­ing.

Ex­pla­na­tions have fo­cussed on the plethora of “life­style” pro­grammes and a lack of lo­cal con­tent.

The day after the courts had con­firmed the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor’s re­port against him, the chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer ap­peared on tele­vi­sion mouthing the mantra of “lo­cal is lekker”.

There is a sim­ple rem­edy to TV3’s prob­lems. Bring back Par­lia­ment Live. At a stroke you solve the prob­lems of lo­cal con­tent, rel­e­vance and top­i­cal­ity. You have a pro­gramme which is both dra­matic and un­ex­pect­edly ed­u­ca­tional. You have sus­pense: Will the pres­i­dent turn up? Will he an­swer ques­tions? Will the op­po­si­tion be­have? Will the Speaker stay cool?

Find out what an ad hoc com­mit­tee is. Does it get down to the nitty gritty or does it use white­wash or even Van­ish?

“See democ­racy in ac­tion. It’s your par­lia­ment. You’re pay­ing for it.”

Fur­ther­more, there are the fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits: the pub­lic broad­caster has no pro­duc­tion costs and doesn’t have to pay the ac­tors.

But, will Mr Mot­soe­neng agree to such rad­i­cal pro­gram­ming, which is the norm in western democ­ra­cies? How does it fit into what has been called “the Zu­mafi­ca­tion of the SABC”?

Ge­off Hughes is emer­i­tus pro­fes­sor, Wits Univer­sity.

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