Tune into SABC hearings
I HEARD from acquaintances that the SABC is to conduct public hearings, canvassing suggestions on future editorial policy and general programming, which includes local content, educational and religious programming and so on.
Apparently, the public hearings have not been well attended, partly because the SABC has been typically lax in advertising the process, especially via its television stations, which surely have a substantial reach.
The SABC has, however, given an assurance that it will take proper cognisance of public sentiment flowing from the hearings, so it is vital that as many people as possible make use of this platform, otherwise we will have to endure the abject public broadcasting we deserve due to laziness and apathy.
I urge all proactive telly viewers and radio listeners to timeously make a comprehensive written representation to the relevant e-mail address, which is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that this forum closes on Decem- ber 12. Respondents should endeavour to be objective and even-handed about this vital critique.
They should give credit where it is due, but also strongly castigate incompetence where necessary.
Often it is only the venomous group of moaning minnies, who are only happy when being miserable, that loudly make their negative views known while, of course, the many unbiased viewers and listeners who are appreciative of the quality aspects, are silent, thus giving the station tsars a decidedly unbalanced perspective.
By way of example, there is a small group of only three or four obnoxious callers who dominate the Talk Radio comment open lines on SAfm with an avalanche of whingeing.
In my opinion, SAfm is one of the SABC’s rare jewels, with an admirable programme potpourri and excellent and generally unbiased presenters who enlighten the public on pertinent social and political issues. They provide a balanced perspective, not shirking from the necessity to talk truth to power in the public and private sectors, but also providing rare praise for the many government positives.
The SABC board should be strongly made aware of the gross deficiencies in SABC TV though, where dire programming and excruciating cross-channel multi-repeats still prevail, and the chronic shortage of quality current affairs debate shows.
How on earth do the programming palookas at SABC justify ditching Siki Mgabadeli’s new season of The Big Debate, and allowing e.tv to snatch it, and then disappointingly burying it in their closed DStv eNCA format?
As Justice Malala says, “What a pair of losers”, which aptly applies to both the SABC and e.tv when there is such a dire need for quality political and social debate on our mass-audience national television.
All of us have our particular tastes, and it is the responsibility of every concerned broadcast media aficionado to devote a little time to make Auntie SABC aware of what we demand from a public broadcaster.
It might not listen and fail to adhere to suggestions, but at least the proactive minority will have done its civic duty to attempt to improve the ailing public broadcast environment, a sector which is a vital part of the Fourth Estate, and of mass public entertainment.