n Communicatio : South African Journal of Communication Theory and Research - The future of public service broadcasting in South Africa : the need to return to basic principles : policy : research article

Volume 29, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 0250-0167



In this article it is argued that should the South African public service broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), be expected to play a development and nation-building role in the South African society, as it is mandated to do, then policy makers should return to the basic principles underlying the philosophy of public service broadcasting. This needs to be done in a changed media environment characterised by privatisation, internationalisation and digitisation, all leading to increased competition and commercialisation. The argument is developed against the background of a discussion on (1) the reasons for the decline of public service broadcasting, (2) the ways in which public service broadcasters are responding, (3) an overview of the state of public service broadcasting in South Africa at the time of writing (April 2003), (4) a motivation for why South Africa needs a strong public service broadcaster and (5) what can be done to secure the future of public service broadcasting in South Africa. A return to the basic principles of public service broadcasting as the only way out, is suggested. This would require a complete revision of South African broadcasting policy.

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