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Deadline for written comments on SABC Bill extended

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Parliament has extended the deadline for written comments on the SABC Bill. Individuals and stakeholders now have until the 16th of January 2024 to submit comment.

The bill seeks to strengthen the efficiency of operations at the public broadcaster.

It proposes, amongst other changes, the streamlining of the SABC Board to strengthen its responsibilities and accountability.

It also proposes reforms in the broadcaster’s funding model and the TV licensing system.

The Portfolio Committee on Communications and Digital Technologies also requested those making written comments to indicate their interest to make verbal presentations if they so wish.

Levy to replace TV licences 

The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies says new amendments to the bill make provision for a household levy to replace the current TV licences.

The department says the amount to be paid will be agreed to between the communications, National Treasury and the Public Enterprises ministers.

Rejection

Meanwhile, media watchdogs SOS Support Public Broadcasting and Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) have outrightly rejected the new SABC Bill and have since called for its withdrawal.

MMA Director, William Bird, says the bill is fundamentally flawed.

In a joint statement, the two media advocacy groups said the bill presents extreme threats to the SABC’s editorial and institutional independence.

More details in the discussion below: 

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