|Public Service Broadcasting and Language: An Analysis of Policy Options for South Africa|
|Written by Munyaradzi Memory Hwengwere|
Public Service Broadcasting and Language: An Analysis of Policy Options for South Africa.
By Munyaradzi Memory Hwengwere (1995)
From its inception, the South African Broadcasting Authority existed as a propaganda extension of the state. Gradually, as policies of apartheid were intensifiedand found more institutional representation, the SABC also replicated those characteristics. Its structure and practice became premised on a notion that emphasised a hierarchy of importance according to the criteria of race, ethnicity, language and every other socially stratifying mechanism . In April 1994, however, the holding of the first all race elections ushered a new democratic age to the country. Within this era, institutions of public life, including the SABC had to change. They had to start concurring with new political and social values and norms of public accountability .
For the SABC, this meant reorganising itself from being a state broadcaster to a public broadcaster. In turn, within the South African context becoming a public broadcaster required addressing a constitutional need to equally serve the 11official languages . Upon the recognition of the importance of this issue, the IBA then invited various interest groups to present to it, the sort of language policy they wished the public broadcaster to adopt.
As a postmortem exercise, this thesis examines the various interest representations of policy submission made to the IBA. Four such submission are analyzed . They are from the SABC, Human Sciences Resource Centre (HSRC) and Tsonga group . From this analysis, four central themes emerge . Firstly, the need to establish within the public broadcasting service portfolio, regional broadcasters. Secondly ; the need for the public broadcaster to facilitate as much as possible a process that helps the cause of marginalised languages. Thirdly, through the use of a dynamic concept of equitability, the need for PSB to reconcile "majoritarian" needs with minority needs . Finally a need for language policy to move beyond the simple conceptions of home language to utilising other viewpoints as well.