The Challenges and Opportunities Facing Public Service Broadcasting in the Digital Era
THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FACING PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING IN THE DIGITAL ERA
Public service broadcasting plays an important role in providing access to and participation in public life. However, with the onset of the rapid and radical changes to the broadcasting environment principally brought about by the migration from analogue to digital technologies, the landscape is now faced with a whole new set of challenges. These require us to return to first principles and ask: how do we sustain and enhance a healthy and vibrant public service broadcasting sector in the digital era?
On 14 November 2012, the SOS Coalition, together with the Nelson Mandela Centre for Memory and with the generous support of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, held a roundtable bringing together a wide variety of stakeholders in public service broadcasting to discuss the current challenges facing the PBS landscape as well as forecast and problem solve those which would be brought about by the imminent digital broadcasting set-up. We invited a wide range of stakeholders including our public broadcaster, the SABC, the ruling and opposition parties,public representatives, ICASA and the DoC (both of whom were, unfortunately, unable to attend,) independent producers, union representatives as well as academics, civil society organisations and individuals interested in the public broadcasting issues.
Participants engaged in frank and robust about the state of the public broadcaster and made some valuable contributions towards a new vision for public broadcasting in South Africa.