National Association of Broadcasters: briefing

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Communications

19 September 1999
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Meeting report

COMMUNICATIONS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
20 September 1999
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS: BRIEFING


Documents handed out:
Copy of slide presentation. The following points were made by Mr A Harber in the NAB Presentation:

MINUTES

History

Aims and objectives

(Extract from NAB Constitution 1998)

NAB structure

Membership

Activities - 1

Activities - 2

Activities - 3

Activities - 4

-Industry summit

* International contact -NAB USA

-RAB USA and UK

* Communication between members

Policies -1

Policies - 2

Policies - 3

New regulatory proposal

Example: Local content

* When advertising a licence opportunity, regulator states that applicants must foster local content (but sets no rules or quota)
* Applicants lay out different ways of doing this:
* Local content quota
* Promoting musicians/concerts
* Contributing to local production fund
* Regulator chooses applicants who best achieves the aim

Problems with legislation

Future legislation

* IBA/Satra merger
* Independence
* Resources
* Balance between broadcasters and telecoms

Regulatory issues

* Telkom exclusivity in point-to-point links for broadcasters
* Television channel 13 moratorium on stereo for broadcasters using it
* Restrictions on current affairs sponsorships

Industry summit

* Closed-door meeting of:
* Ministry
* Department
* Parliamentary committee
* IBA/Satra
* Industry bodies
* Purpose
* To exchange views and debate future shape of industry
* To develop common vision on priorities for the year
* November 8 1999

Future relationships

* Need for ongoing contact and exchange of views
* Need to understand each others' agendas
* We need you to understand our industry and our operations
* We need to know your plans, so that we have certainty and predictability

Questions by committee members

Ms Mtsweni (ANC) agreed with NAB on the proposal of future legislation, which aims at striking a balance between telecommunications and broadcasting, and thereby ensuring equal treatment.

Ms Magazi (ANC) asked why they do not interact with other African broadcasting associations?

Dr Cwele (ANC) asked what their relationship is with competitive neighbouring African countries.

Mr Harber informed the committee that Botswana is actively selling satellite broadcasters by claiming to provide better and friendlier broadcasting services.

Mr C Morkel (NNP) enquired whether other telecoms would be invited to the NBA summit.

Mr Harber said that SATRA would be invited to participate though this summit will not focus on the merger issue.

Mr Kekana said that the broadcasting and telecommunications industries should encourage a strong consumer culture. He also enquired if a study is being conducted with regard to the impact of television on social and gender issues. He requested that the NAB consult the Portfolio Committee with regard to conduct issues.

Mr Harber said that he is not aware of any present research being conducted in this field but would welcome any research related thereto. He added that the NAB supports the adoption of the IBA code of conduct. Mr Harber then asked why broadcasters are treated differently to print media, because political parties can advertise in print, but not on television.

Ms N Bulbulia (IBA) said they have tried to address the issue of the impact of television. She said that research is very limited in this field, as broadcasters do not provide funding for student research in these fields.

Mr Kekana asked if the industry was not concerned about the impact of television on society as a whole.

Ms Smuts (DP) pointed out that there are research bodies funded by Parliament that are well equipped to conduct such research.

Mr Kekana concluded by saying that the industry has a responsibility to conduct research into the impact of television programmes on people and society. He added that they are not calling for censorship, but a code of conduct.

NAB representatives present at the meeting were: Mr A Harber (Chairperson); Ms L Jordaan (Executive Director); Mr Z Ibrahim (Community Media Committee); Mr T Evans, Ms Matabane (Technical Committee); and Mr Masofe (Radio).

 


# Legislative changes
# Broadcasting Act problems

* Re-application requirement

# IBA Act

* Local content
* Loosening of ownership restrictions

# Electoral Act

* Restrictions on party political advertising (TV and radio outside elections) are redundant and out of keeping with constitution
* Definition of Election Period

# NAB proposal
# New, more flexible way of dealing with local content and ownership issues

* Act sets out aims
* Regulator invites licence applicants to say how they will meet these aims
* Applicants can choose range of ways to meet these aims
* Regulator chooses who will meet them best and issues them the licence

# Need for more flexible, light-touch regulation
# Technology will force it
# If we are not flexible, regulation will always lag behind and prove ineffectual
# Need to bring investment, not chase it to neighbouring countries
# Need to ensure success of new broadcasting ventures
# Encourage self-regulation
# eg: Ban on sponsorship of current affairs
# This requires a growth and investment strategy for our industry
# Need to develop sufficient strong broadcasters
# Independent and properly-resourced regulator
# Investors need certainty and predictability
# Current state of industry
# Tough economic conditions

* Advertising cut-backs
* Many Greenfields stations struggling
* Number of small investors opting out
* Uncertainty about regulator/s

# Fully supportive of main goals of the Broadcasting Act
# Development of local industry
# Empowerment
# Diversity
# We believe broadcasting can be a powerful engine for:
# transformation
# investment
# education
# A brave vision can leapfrog us into the Information Age and the digital era
# Projects -NAB ( National Association of Broadcasters) Awards
# Subsidiary bodies
# BCCSA (Broadcast Complaints Commission of South Africa)
# Radio Advertising Bureau
# Reciprocal membership
# Commonwealth Broadcasting Association
# SABA (South African Broadcasting Association)
# SACOB ( South African Chamber of Bussiness)
# Negotiations
# Samro (South African Musical Rights Organisation)
# Needletime
# Representation
# SAARF (South African Advancement and Research Foundation)
# MIT
# Skills Development Process
# ASA (Advertising Standards Authority)
# Lobbying and representation
# IBA
# Parliament
# Department/Ministry
# SATRA
# IEC
# All TV channels
# All but one commercial radio station (whose membership is imminent)
# All public radio and television
# 40 community stations
# Associates
# Foster and promote development of broadcasting
# Serve as a forum for discussing broadcasting matters
# Strengthen and promote the broadcasting industry to best serve the public
# Promote freedom of choice for viewers
# Support a favorable climate for broadcasting
# Foster the principles of democracy, freedom of expression and multiplicity of voices
# NAB formed in 1991
# As broadcasting opened up to ensure we played our proper role as an industry in the changes taking place
# Been through many changes
# First members just SABC, M-Net and 702
# Now much wider, much more representative
# Adopted new constitution last year to reflect changes in industry

 

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