Staff Reporter Windhoek-Namibia’s Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Tjekero Tweya, on Wednesday took a swipe at broadcasting executives attending the 5th SADC-SABA Broadcasting Forum. He said he has observed a “serious gender imbalance” in the attendance of the conference and asked if this is not one aspect the Southern African Broadcasting Association (SABA) must address going forward. He made the remarks when he delivered the keynote address at the body’s annual general conference taking place at Gateway Conference Centre in Khomasdal. “This might sound as a petty issue for many, but the male dominion in SABA may easily be reflected as part of the content of gender issues on platforms like radio and TV,” he said. “And if we want to see and hear gender balance in local content, representation of male and female must strike the same balance in the hierarchy of SABA.” According to Tweya, lawmakers have created the legal frameworks allowing broadcasters to practise their craft without hindrance, but such freedoms should not be abused to the extent that they infringe on the rights of others. He said all must act in a manner which shall cherish the freedoms in democracies throughout SADC. He lamented that some broadcasters exclusively service lucrative markets at the expense of the broader public. “I regard this kind of thinking as small minds that cannot see the ocean of people they classify as remote and rural people; notwithstanding the fact that the people classified as ‘rural’ command big numbers and control buying power.” He urged members to provide access to information even to the most vulnerable and those living in far rural and remote areas of SADC. “And this is what we, in Namibia, capture in the Harambee Prosperity Plan, advocating that ‘no one should feel left out of the Namibian House’.” The onus is on them as public service broadcasters to lead the SADC agenda on public broadcasting, he added. “Even mobile telecommunications companies rely on your broadcasts to transmit their advertising messages and brand to the millions of people in SADC. Therefore, you need to take ownership and aggressively drive the SADC broadcasting agenda to ensure that people living in remote areas of SADC’s voices be heard and they must see themselves on our TV screens as part of our African heritage and local content.” Tweya said if telecommunications companies “hamstring your progress, engage political support for us to exert the necessary pressure through appropriate policies”. He further said the people of SADC expect world-class customer service, world-class local content, world-class equipment, and they expect a reliable distribution and exchange of content for and about SADC; nothing less and nothing more – “and we owe it to them despite the financial constraints experienced”. “Lack of funds is nothing new for us in SADC – we know this challenge and what are we doing to circumvent the challenge of financial constraints,” said Tweya. According to him, financial constraints should produce breakthrough ideas to deliver creative and highly commercial innovations to generate income and new revenue streams.
2017-09-29 09:38:55 11 months ago