- South African Broadcasting Corporation
:"SABC redirects here, as this is the most common use of the abbreviation in English. For other uses, see
SABC (disambiguation)".Infobox Network
network_name = South African Broadcasting Corporation
country = flagicon|South Africa
network_type = Television and
available = National; International (via
SABC Africa, Channel Africa)
launch_date = 1936 (radio)
founder = South African Government
slogan = "Your South Africa. Your SABC." "Broadcasting for total citizen empowerment."
motto = "This is "your" SABC." "Vuka Sizwe!" (Nation Arise!)
past_names = African Broadcasting Corporation
website = [http://www.sabc.co.za/ www.sabc.co.za]
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is the state-owned broadcaster in
South Africaand provides 18 radio stations (AM/FM) as well as 4 television broadcasts to the general public. [cite web|url=http://www.sabc.co.za/portal/site/corporate/menuitem.f7f580ebd1506ee48891f2e75401aeb9|title=SABC Station List|accessdate=July|accessyear=2006]
Radio broadcasting began in South Africa in 1923. The SABC was established in 1936 through an Act of Parliament, and replaced the previous state-controlled
African Broadcasting Corporation, formed in 1927, which was dissolved in the same year. It was considered a monopolyfor many years, and was controlled by the white minority National Party government. This led to the accusation of it being biased towards the then ruling apartheid regime. At one time most of its senior management were members of the Broederbond, the Afrikaner secret societyand later drawn from institutions like Stellenbosch University. It was also known in Afrikaansas Suid-Afrikaanse Uitsaaikorporasie (SAUK), although this title is no longer used by the Corporation.
Until 1979, the SABC also operated broadcasting services in
Namibia, which was then under South African rule, but in that year, these were transferred to the South West African Broadcasting Corporation (SWABC). This, in turn, became the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation(NBC) after the country's independence in 1990.
In 1996, the SABC and its services were restructured to better serve and reflect the fresh democratic society of post-1994 South Africa. It has since been accused of favouring the ruling ANC political party, mostly in the area of news broadcasting. However, it remains the dominant player in the country's broadcast media.
Criticism towards the public broadcaster intensified around 2003-2005, when it was accused of a wide range of shortcomings including self-censorship, lack of objectivity and selective news coverage.
The SABC was established by an act of Parliament in 1936 taking over from the African Broadcasting Company which had been responsible for some of the first
radiobroadcasts in South Africa in the 1920s. The SABC established services in what were then the country's official languages, English and Afrikaans, with broadcasts in ethnic languages such as Zulu, Xhosa, Sesothoand Tswanafollowing later. The SABC's first commercial service, started in 1950, was known as Springbok Radio, broadcasting in English and Afrikaans. Regional FM music stations were started in the 1960s. The SABC's choice of popular music reflected the National Party government's initial conservatism, with the music of The Beatlesand The Rolling Stonesgenerally frowned upon, if not banned from the airwaves, in favour of 'middle of the road' music like that of the U.S. group Bread.
In 1996 the SABC carried out a significant restructuring of their services. The main English language radio service became
SAfm. The new service, after some initial faltering, soon developed a respectable listenership and was regarded as a flagship for the new democracy. However, government interference in the state broadcaster in 2003 saw further changes to SAfm which reversed the growth and put it in rapid decline once more. Today it attracts only 0.6% of the total population to its broadcasts. The main Afrikaans radio service was renamed Radio Sonder Grense(literally 'Radio Without Frontiers') in 1995 and has enjoyed greater success with the transition.
Similarly, SABC Radio's competitors have achieved great levels of popular appeal.
Primedia-owned Radio 702, Cape Talkand 94.7 Highveld Stereohave grown steadily in audience and revenue through shrewd management since the freeing of the airwaves in South Africa. Other stations such as the black-owned and focused YFMand Kaya FMhave also shone, attracting audiences drawn from the black majority.
Springbok Radioin Afrikaans/English - closed on 31 December 1985
SAfmin English [http://www.safm.co.za/]
5FMin English [http://www.5fm.co.za/]
Good Hope FMin English [http://www.goodhopefm.co.za/]
Metro FMin English [http://www.metrofm.co.za/]
Radio Sonder Grensein Afrikaans [http://www.rsg.co.za/]
Radio 2000in English [http://www.radio2000.co.za/]
Ukhozi FMin Zulu [http://www.ukhozifm.co.za/]
Umhlobo Wenene FMin Xhosa [http://www.uwfm.co.za/]
Thobela FMin Pedi [http://www.thobelafm.co.za/]
Lesedi FMin Sotho [http://www.lesedifm.co.za/]
Motsweding FMin Tswana [http://www.motswedingfm.co.za/]
Phalaphala FMin Venda [http://www.phalaphalafm.co.za/]
Munghana Lonene FMin Tsonga [http://www.munghanalonenefm.co.za/]
Ligwalagwala FMin Swazi [http://www.ligwalagwalafm.co.za/]
Ikwekwezi FMin Ndebele [http://www.ikwekwezifm.co.za/]
Lotus FMin English for the Indian community [http://www.lotusfm.co.za/]
X-K FMin !Xu and Khwe
CKI FMin English and Xhosa
Early history (1971 - 1995)
In 1971, after years of controversy over the introduction of television, the SABC was finally allowed to introduce a colour TV service, which began experimental broadcasts in the main cities on
5 May1975, before the service went nationwide on January 6, 1976. Initially, the TV service was funded entirely through a licence fee, as in the UK, but advertising began in 1978. The SABC (both Television and Radio) is still partly funded by the licence fee (currently R225 per annum).
The service initially broadcast only in English and
Afrikaans, with an emphasis on religious programming on Sundays.
A local soap opera, "The Villagers", set on a gold mine, was well received while other local productions like "
The Dingleys" were panned as amateurish. Owing to South Africa's apartheidpolicies, the British actors' union Equity started a boycott of programme sales to South Africa, meaning that the majority of acquired programming in the early years of the corporation came from the United States. However, the Thames Televisionpolice drama series " The Sweeney" was briefly shown on SABC TV, dubbed in Afrikaans as "Blitspatrollie". Later on, when other programmes were dubbed, the original soundtrack was simulcaston FM radio.With a limited budget, early programming aimed at children tended to be quite innovative, and programmes such as the Afrikaans-language puppetshows Haas Das se Nuus Kasand Oscar in Asblikfonteinare still fondly remembered by many.
In 1982, a second channel was introduced, broadcasting in African languages. The main channel, then called TV1, was divided evenly between English and Afrikaans, as before. Subtitling on TV in South Africa used to be almost non-existent, although now many non-English language soap operas have started to display English subtitles. The second channel, known either as TV2, TV3 or TV4 depending on the time of day, was later rebranded as CCV (Contemporary Community Values). A third channel was introduced known as TSS, or Topsport Surplus, Topsport being the brand name for the SABC's sport coverage, but this was renamed NNTV (National Network TV).
SABC television become widely available in neighbouring
Botswana, Lesothoand Swaziland. The SABC also helped the South West African Broadcasting Corporation in Namibiato establish a television service in 1981 with most programming being videotapes flown in from South Africa. This became part of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporationin 1990
Recent history (1996 - present)
In 1996, almost two years after the ANC came to power, the SABC reorganised its three TV channels, so as to be more representative of different language groups. These new channels were called
SABC 1, SABC 2and SABC 3. This resulted in the downgrading of Afrikaans, which now had its airtime reduced, a move that angered many whites. The SABC also later absorbed the Bop TVstation, of the former Bophuthatswana bantustan.
Other news broadcasts
The SABC carried
CNN Internationalnews broadcasts from 1990, but discontinued them around the time of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. It used to but no longer carries BBC Worldnews programming in the early hours of the morning. Instead, it now carries sport. South African viewers who can afford it, and want to view international news (unfiltered by SABC News), have to subscribe to DStvwhich broadcasts, amongst others, CNN International, BBC World News, and Sky News.
In recent years, the SABC began broadcasting two TV channels to the rest of the continent, SABC Africa (a news service) and Africa 2 Africa (entertainment programming from South Africa and other African countries), in 1999. These were carried for free by DStv. In 2003, Africa 2 Africa was merged with SABC Africa. SABC Africa's news bulletins are also carried on the Original Black Entertainment (OBE) satellite television channel in the UK.
In South Africa itself, the SABC has announced the launch of two regional television channels, SABC4 and SABC5, with an emphasis on languages other than English. SABC4 will broadcast in Tswana, Sesotho, Pedi, Tsonga, Venda, and
Afrikaansas well as English, to the northern provinces of the country. In the southern provinces, SABC5 will broadcast in Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele, and Swazi, as well as Afrikaans and English.
Unlike other SABC TV services, SABC4 and SABC5 will not be available via satellite.
In 1986, the SABC's monopoly on TV was challenged by the launch of a subscription-based service known as
M-Net, backed by a consortium of newspaper publishers. However, it could not broadcast its own news and current affairs programmes, which were still the preserve of the SABC. The SABC's dominance was further eroded by the launch of the first 'free-to-air' private TV channel, called e.tv. Satellite televisionalso expanded, as M-Net's sister company, Multichoice, launched its digital satellite TV service ( DStv) in 1995. Most of the SABC's TV channels are still provided as part of this service.
1976 to 1995
* SABC 1 Nguni Languages Primarily and English Secondarily
* SABC 2 Afrikaans, SeSotho and English
* SABC 3 English
A throwback to the Apartheid days, many opposition politicians believe the SABC to be the mouthpiece of the ANC government or "SANC", [cite web|url=http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=248529&area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__national/|title=Mail and Guardian interview with Democratic Alliance spokesperson Helen Zille|accessdate=August|accessyear=2005] just as it was that of the National Party. Despite a change in government, this public perception was reinforced when, in August 2005, the SABC came under heavy fire from non-affiliated media and the public for failing to broadcast a scene whereby Deputy President
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcukawas booed offstage by members of the ANC Youth League, who were showing support for the newly-axed ex-Deputy President, Jacob Zuma[cite web|url=http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=248529&area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__national/|title=Mail and Guardian article on Youth League Controversy|accessdate=July|accessyear=2006] .
Rival broadcaster eTV publicly accused SABC of 'biased reporting' by failing to show the video footage of the humiliated Deputy President, but
Snuki Zikalala, Head of News and ex-ANC spokesperson retorted by stating that their cameraman was not present at the meeting, a claim later established to be false when eTV footage was released which showed an SABC cameraman filming the incident. [cite web|url=http://www.sundayindependent.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=1042&fArticleId=2872217|title=Sunday Independent on Deputy-President footage|accessdate=July|accessyear=2006]
SABC's government connections also came under scrutiny when, in April 2005, Zimbabwean president
Robert Mugabewas interviewed live by Zikalala, who is a former ANC political commissar. [cite web|url=http://www.suntimes.co.za/2004/07/25/insight/in02.asp|title=Sunday Times on Robert Mugabe Interview|accessdate=July|accessyear=2006] The interview held was deemed by the public eye to have side-stepped 'critical issues' and controversial questions regarding Mugabe's radical land-reform policies and human rightsviolations.
In May 2006, the SABC was accused of
self censorship, when it decided not to air a documentary on South African President Thabo Mbeki, and in early June requested that the producers (from Daylight films) not speak about it. This has been widely criticised by independent media groups. [cite web|url=http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=14&click_id=6&art_id=vn20060610091410712C874542|title=IOL News Report|accessdate=July|accessyear=2006] In response, the International Freedom of Expression eXchange issued an alert concerning the SABC's apparent trend toward self-censorship. [cite web|url=http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/74682/|title=IFEX Self-Censhorship Warning|accessdate=July|accessyear=2006]
In June 2006 the
International Federation of Journalistsdenounced the cancelling of the Thabo Mbeki documentary, citing "self censorship" and "politically influenced managers". [cite web|url=http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20060619012849541C504021|title=IFOJ comment on Mbeki documentary|accessdate=July|accessyear=2006]
Also in June 2006,
SAfmhost John Perlmandisclosed on air that the SABC had created a blacklistof commentators. [cite web|url=http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/topstories.aspx?ID=BD4A220788|title=John Perlman disclosed blacklist|accessdate=July|accessyear=2006] A commission of inquiry was created by SABC CEO Dali Mpofuinto the allegations that individuals were blacklisted at the behest of Zikalala. [cite web|url=http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=3015&art_id=vn20060624083017227C257392|title=IOL on blacklisting allegations|accessdate=July|accessyear=2006] [cite web|url=http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=275243&area=/insight/insight__national/|title=MG on blacklisting allegations|accessdate=July|accessyear=2006]
Critics, including the influential newspaper, Mail and Guardian (Vol 24, No 35) have accused the broadcaster of cultural myopia by failing to recognize the diverse cultural mix of South Africa and excessive favoring of certain ethnic groups in their choice of entertainment offered particularly by the TV services.
Television in South Africa
List of South African television series
* [http://www.sabc.co.za Official SABC website]
* [http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=139&art_id=qw1125657361836B253 IOL - SABC battles the image of being a State Mouthpiece]
* [http://www.thestar.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=2855938&fSectionId=234&fSetId=505 The Star - Air the Laundry]
* [http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=14&click_id=6&art_id=vn20060610091410712C874542 IOL - SABC gags Mbeki 'unauthorised' documentary]
* [http://www.mg.co.za/ContentImages/286709/SABCBLACKLISTREPORT.pdf Report of SABC Commission on Blacklisting]
* [http://www.springbokradio.com SPRINGBOK RADIO PRESERVATION SOCIETY OF S.A.]
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