Government actively allowing financial crisis at SABC: Bird

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As the South African media industry commemorates the 46th anniversary of National Press Freedom Day, concerns have been raised over the impact of insufficient government funding on the country’s media freedom, particularly within the SABC.

The Director of Media Monitoring Africa William Bird highlighted the critical role of the SABC as an independent public broadcaster, lamenting the dire consequences of the ongoing financial crisis at the SABC, attributing the responsibility to government’s failure to adequately address the funding shortfall.

Bird says that the SABC is facing a financial crisis that is actively being allowed by the government.

46th National Press Freedom Day, remembering Black Wednesday:

“They say the SABC has a big public mandate, yet they are not prepared to fund that instead they always then carve us out, okay here’s a bailout because you don’t know what you’re doing or you’re incompetent or whatever nonsense. SABC is there to give news and information to the majority of people,” said Bird.

SABC News and Current Affairs’ Group Executive, Moshoeshoe Monare, emphasised the imperative of investing in the SABC to counter the pervasive challenges posed by misinformation, particularly in the lead-up to the National and Provincial Elections of 2024.

“The issue of misinformation and disinformation or what others call mal-information, is very critical, especially going towards the elections because from SABC’s point of view the internal mechanism, the internal mechanism we use for its quality assurance are there. But you need a lot of investment in order to counter very powerful AI and other technologies that they use for misinformation,” stressed Monare.