South African Broadcasting Corporation, Talk:South African Broadcasting Corporation
South African Broadcasting Corporation
(SABC) is the state owned broadcaster in South Africa
and provides 18 radio stations (AM
) as well as 4 television broadcasts to the general public.
[cite web|url=http://www.sabc.co.za/portal/site/corporate/menuitem.f7f580ebd1506ee48891f2e75401aeb9|title=SABC Station ]
The SABC was established in 1936
through an Act Of Parliament
, and replaced the previous state-controlled African Broadcasting Corporation
which was dissolved in the same year. It was considered a monopoly
for many years, and was controlled by the white minority National Party
government. This lead to the accusation of it being biased towards the then ruling apartheid regime. At one time most of its senior management were members of the Broederbond
, the Afrikaner secret society
and later drawn from institutions like Stellenbosch University
. It was also known in Afrikaans
as Suid-Afrikaanse Uitsaaikorporasie
(SAUK), although this title is no longer used by the Corporation, except in Afrikaans news broadcasts.
, the SABC also operated broadcasting services in Namibia
, which was then under South African rule, but in that year, these were transferred to the South West African Broadcasting Corporation (SWABC). This, in turn, became the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation
(NBC) after the country's independence in 1990
, the SABC and its services were restructed to better serve and reflect the fresh democratic society of post-1994 South Africa
. It has since been accused of favouring the ruling ANC political party, mostly in the area of news broadcasting. However, it remains the dominant player in the country's broadcast media.
Criticism towards the public broadcaster intensified around 2003
, when it was accused of a wide range of shortcomings including self-censorship, lack of objectivity and selective news coverage.
The SABC was established by an act of Parliament in 1936 taking over from the African Broadcasting Company which had been responsible for some of the first radio
broadcasts in South Africa in the 1920s. The SABC established services in what were then the country's official language
, with broadcasts in ethnic languages such as Zulu
following later. The SABC's first commercial service, started in 1950, was known as Springbok Radio, broadcasting in English and Afrikaans. Regional FM music stations were started in the 1960s. The SABC's choice of popular music reflected the National Party
government's initial conservatism, with the music of The Beatles
and The Rolling Stones
generally frowned upon, if not banned from the airwaves, in favour of 'middle of the road' music like that of the U.S.
In 1966 the SABC also established an external service, known as Radio RSA
, which broadcast in English, Swahili, French
. It is now known as Channel Africa
the SABC carried out a signficant restructuring of their services. The main English language radio service became SAfm
, with many black presenters - to the chagrin of many white listeners accustomed to 'proper' English. The new service, after some initial faltering, soon developed a respectable listenership and was regarded as a flagship for the new democracy. However, government interference in the state broadcaster in 2003
saw further changes to SAfm which reversed the growth and put it in rapid decline once more. Today it attracts only 0.6% of the total population to its broadcasts. The main Afrikaans radio service was renamed Radio Sonder Grense
(literally 'Radio without Frontiers') in 1995 and has enjoyed greater success with the transition.
Similarly, SABC Radio's competitors have achieved great levels of popular appeal. Primedia
-owned Radio 702
, Cape Talk
and 94.7 Highveld Stereo
have grown steadily in audience and revenue through shrewd management since the freeing of the airwaves in South Africa. Other stations such as the black-owned and focused YFM
and Kaya FM
have also shone, attracting audiences drawn from the black majority.
*Radio Sonder Grense
*Umhlobo Wenene FM
*Munghana Lonene FM
for the Indian
Early history (1971 - 1995)
, after years of controversy over the introduction of television
, the SABC was finally allowed to introduce a colour TV service, which began experimental broadcasts in the main cities on 5 May1975
, before the service went nationwide on January 6
. Initially, the TV service was funded entirely through a licence fee
, as in the UK
, but advertising began in 1978
. The SABC (both Television and Radio) is still partly funded by the licence fee (currently R
225 per annum).
The service initially broadcast only in English
, with an emphasis on religious programming on Sundays.
A local soap opera, The Villagers, set on a gold mine, was well received while other local productions like The Dingleys
were panned as amateurish. Owing to South Africa's apartheid
policies, the British actors' union Equity
started a boycott of programme sales to South Africa, meaning that the majority of acquired programming in the early years of the corporation came from the United States
. However, the Thames Television
police drama series The Sweeney
was briefly shown on SABC TV, dubbed
in Afrikaans as Blitspatrollie
. Later on, when other programmes were dubbed, the original soundtrack was simulcast
on FM radio.
With a limited budget, early programming aimed at children tended to be quite innovative, and programmes such as the Afrikaans-language puppetshows Haas Das se Nuus Kas
and Oscar in Asblikfontein
are still fondly remembered by many.
, a second channel was introduced, broadcasting in African languages. The main channel, then called TV1, was divided evenly between English and Afrikaans, as before. Subtitling on TV in South Africa used to be almost non-existent, although now many non-English language soap operas have started to display English subtitles. The second channel, known either as TV2, TV3 or TV4 depending on the time of day, was later rebranded as CCV (Contemporary Community Values). A third channel was introduced known as TSS, or Topsport Surplus, Topsport being the brand name for the SABC's sport coverage, but this was renamed NNTV (National Network TV).
SABC television become widely available in neighbouring Botswana
. The SABC also helped the South West African Broadcasting Corporation in Namibia
to establish a television service in 1981
with most programming being videotapes flown in from South Africa. This became part of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation
Recent history (1996 - present)
, almost two years after the ANC came to power, the SABC reorganised its three TV channels, so as to be more representative of different language groups. These new channels were called SABC 1
, SABC 2
and SABC 3
. This resulted in the downgrading of Afrikaans
, which now had its airtime reduced, a move that angered many whites. The SABC also later absorbed the Bop TV
station, of the former Bophuthatswana bantustan
Other news broadcasts
The SABC carried CNN International
news broadcasts from 1990
, but discontinued them around the time of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq
. It now carries BBC World
news programming in the early hours of the morning. South African viewers who want to view international news during the daytime have to subscribe to DStv
which broadcasts, amongst others, CNN International, BBC World, and Sky News
In recent years, the SABC began broadcasting two TV channels to the rest of the continent, SABC Africa (a news service) and Africa 2 Africa (entertainment programming from South Africa and other African countries), in 1999
. These were carried for free by DStv. In 2003
, Africa 2 Africa was merged with SABC Africa. SABC Africa's news bulletins are also carried on the Original Black Entertainment (OBE) satellite television channel in the UK.
In South Africa itself, the SABC has announced the launch of two regional television channels, SABC4 and SABC5, with an emphasis on languages other than English. SABC4 will broadcast in Tswana
, and Afrikaans
as well as English, to the northern provinces of the country. In the southern provinces, SABC5 will broadcast in Xhosa
, and Swazi
, as well as Afrikaans and English.
Unlike other SABC TV services, SABC4 and SABC5 will not be available via satellite.
, the SABC's monopoly on TV was challenged by the launch of a subscription-based service known as M-Net
, backed by a consortium of newspaper publishers. However, it could not broadcast its own news and current affairs programmes, which were still the preserve of the SABC. The SABC's dominance was further eroded by the launch of the first 'free-to-air' private TV channel, called e.tv
. Satellite television
also expanded, as M-Net's parent company, Multichoice
, launched its digital satellite TV service (DStv
. However, it should be noted that most of the SABC's TV channels are still provided as part of this service.
1976 to 1995
mixed South African languages
mixed South African languages (including Afrikaans
A throwback to the Apartheid days, many people believe the SABC to be the 'Mouthpiece of Government', as the previous ruling party often used the SABC as platform to broadcast propaganda to the nation. Despite a change in government, this public perception was reinforced when, in August 2005
, the SABC came under heavy fire from non-affiliated media and the public for failing to broadcast a scene whereby Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
was booed offstage by members of the ANC Youth League
, who were showing support for the newly-axed ex-Deputy President, Jacob Zuma
[cite web|url=http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=248529&area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__national/|title=MG Article on Youth League ]
Rival broadcaster eTV
publicly accused SABC of 'biased reporting' by failing to show the video footage of the humiliated Deputy President, but Snuki Zikalala
, Head of News and ex-ANC spokesperson retorted by stating that their cameraman was not present at the meeting, a fact later falsified by released eTV footage showing the SABC cameraman filming the incident.
[cite web|url=http://www.sundayindependent.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=1042&fArticleId=2872217|title=Sunday Independent on Duputy-President ]
SABC's government connections also came under scrutiny when, in April 2005, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe
was interviewed live by Zikalala, who is a former ANC political commissar
[cite web|url=http://www.suntimes.co.za/2004/07/25/insight/in02.asp|title=Sunday Times on Robert Mugabe ]
The interview held was deemed by the public eye to have side-stepped 'critical issues' and controversial questions regarding Mugabe's radical land-reform policies and human rights
In May 2006
, the SABC was accused of self censorship
, when it decided not to air a documentary on South African President Thabo Mbeki
, and in early June requested that the producers (from Daylight films) not speak about it. This has been widely criticised by independent media groups.
[cite web|url=http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=14&click_id=6&art_id=vn20060610091410712C874542|title=IOL News ]
In response, The International Freedom of Expression eXchange
issued an alert concerning the SABC's apparent trend toward self-censorship.
[cite web|url=http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/74682/|title=IFEX Self-Censhorship ]
In June 2006
the International Federation of Journalists
denounced the cancelling of the Thabo Mbeki documentary, citing "self censorship" and "politically influenced managers".
[cite web|url=http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20060619012849541C504021|title=IFOJ comment on Mbeki ]
Also in June 2006, SAfm
host John Perlman
disclosed on air that the SABC had created a blacklist
[cite web|url=http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/topstories.aspx?ID=BD4A220788|title=John Perlman disclosed ]
A commission of inquiry was created by SABC CEO Dali Mpofu
into the allegations that individuals were blacklisted at the behest of Zikalala.
[cite web|url=http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=3015&art_id=vn20060624083017227C257392|title=IOL on blacklisting ] [cite web|url=http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=275243&area=/insight/insight__national/|title=MG on blacklisting ]
*Television in South Africa
*List of South African television series
*http://www.sabc.co.za Official Site
*http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=139&art_id=qw1125657361836B253 IOL - SABC battles the image of being a State Mouthpiece
*http://www.thestar.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=2855938&fSectionId=234&fSetId=505 The Star - Air the Laundry
*http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=14&click_id=6&art_id=vn20060610091410712C874542 IOL - SABC gags Mbeki 'unauthorised' documentary
*http://www.mg.co.za/ContentImages/286709/SABCBLACKLISTREPORT.pdf Report of SABC Commission on Blacklisting
ReferencesCategory:Broadcasting by countryCategory:CensorshipCategory:Publicly funded broadcastersCategory:South African mediaCategory:Apartheid in South Africaaf:Suid-Afrikaanse Uitsaaikorporasienl:South African Broadcasting Corporation