Guy Berger

Hands off video on the internet

Strangely, at a time when South Africans are beginning to benefit from better and cheaper broadband connectivity, our communications regulator is toying with the idea of licensing online video. The notion smacks of institutional self-interest, of a body in search of a cause to justify its existence. But the irony is that the Independent Communications…

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Tribute to a less famous Coetzee

The ANCYL’s unsubstantiated claims about hypocritical journalists certainly ring completely hollow in relation to the life and work of David Coetzee.

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Good tidings for African journalists

“We needed it [this fund] back in 2002,” said Gugulethu Moyo, new director of the Media Legal Defence Initiative, referring to the Mugabe government’s suppression of the Daily News eight years back. The company owning the paper still sat with legal bills of $500 000 dollars (US — not Zimbawean!) dollars as a legacy of the…

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Tightening the leash on the SABC and Icasa

No one has come out shining in the mud-slinging around the SABC, but the biggest loser is the autonomy of communications. This has been paralleled by a similar song-and-dance in parliament, in regard to the broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa). The consequence is that South Africa currently sits with both…

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Saving journalists and saving journalism

The shockwaves of collapsing newspapers in the US have startled everyone around the world, not least the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). It’s a body which represents some 600 000 media staffers across 120 countries. Or so it did, according to figures last year. Today, the crisis is cutting into those numbers. A think-tank, dubbed the…

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Fumbling with broadcasting’s future in a socially-networked world

The crisis of the US newspaper industry is what broadcasters are going to experience. Plunging audiences and collapsing advertising revenues. And it’s also coming to South Africa. That’s the prognosis of Wits digital arts professor Christo Doherty speaking as chair of a conference on digital media for broadcasters, organised by Classic Events at Wanderers this…

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Easy to sacrifice Snuki, harder to find the perfect replacement

With the rise of the Zuma era, the SABC board has decided to ditch Snuki Zikalala as head of news. At the same time, the board itself faces the strong likelihood of being ditched. Parliament has been itching to oust it ever since Thabo Mbeki was toppled from the ANC. The board members were controversially…

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Lies, damned lies and tabloid statistics …

Business Day, The Citizen, Sowetan and the Sunday Times – four newspapers that need to pull up their statistical socks. And it’s the leading tabloid paper that avoids tabloid treatment of statistics.

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Finding a way forward as African broadcast reform falters

Transformation of African state-owned broadcasters into proper public-service institutions has come to a standstill. For instance, Zambia’s progressive laws passed in 2002 have yet to be implemented. In role-model South Africa, the crisis around the SABC shows the need for a major re-design of the public broadcaster, but parliament is focussed only on getting rid…

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SA’s mediascape faces the challenge of getting more voices

Our eyes and ears are attentive to the mainstream media as the most influential platform in the coming elections. But it’s also important that there are also many other smaller players adding to the diversity of coverage. Some of these enterprises owe their existence to the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), which has spent…

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