The Chief Executive Officer of the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) in South Africa, Zukiswa Potye, recently participated in an interview with Broadcast Media Africa (BMA) and its programme partner, 2Gwana Media, ahead of the forthcoming Online Forum on “How To Adequately Resource Community Broadcasting In Africa”.
During the engagement with Potye, BMA learned that Potye was in support of the Online Forum due to its positive impact to bring together a variety of roleplayers under one platform. Additionally, during the conversation, Potye noted that community broadcasting held power to ensure there exists media diversity, the plurality of voices, and public engagement. The MDDA CEO further shared her hopes to see the growth of such community engagements that seek to empower community broadcasters to thrive in Africa.
Below is an excerpt of the conversation Zukiswa had with BMA on the forthcoming Forum where she is a featured speaker and panellist:
BMA: What influenced your decision to agree to participate in the Online Forum on “How To Adequately Resource Community Broadcasting In Africa”?
Zukiswa: My decision to agree to participate in the Online Forum on the above topic is influenced by the role I play in creating a conducive environment for media development and diversity in South Africa, which is part of the mandate of the entity I am responsible for, the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), RSA.
BMA: What aspects of “Community Broadcasting” are you passionate about?
Zukiswa: Community Broadcasting ensures there is media diversity, the plurality of voices, encourages public participation but more so, ensures there is access to diverse information. Access to information is enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Through community broadcasting, we can ensure our communities receive news and information in the languages that they speak and understand.
BMA: What is the biggest community broadcasting resource challenge at the moment?
Zukiswa: Insufficient funding from government and other sources, including limited advertising through community media, have led to a lack of viability or sustainability in the community broadcasting or community media in South Africa.
BMA: In your opinion, what do you think can be done to improve the broadcasting and media space within the community broadcasting arena?
Zukiswa: A lot of thought and resources must be invested to sustain community broadcasters. It serves no purpose for the government through the MDDA to develop community broadcasters in South Africa, and only for these to not survive owing to financial challenges, among others. Governance and compliance, the use of digital technologies, and capacity building in skills that talk to the 21st century must be driving forces to strengthen and improve broadcasting and the media landscape.
BMA: Could you please tell us what you hope fellow participants will take away from this industry event?
Zukiswa: They must take away the importance of community broadcasting in Africa and how each of us can play a role in ensuring the viability of these. This refers to small businesses in the communities served by these community broadcasters, government support, private sector support, et cetera.
About Zukiswa Potye: Zuki was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) on 01 January 2020 after acting in the position for 20 months. Her work experience spans over 29 years in the public sector. Her background is in strategy and risk management. She holds a Master of Commerce in Project Management from Cranefield College in South Africa. She is currently busy with MPhil in Corporate Strategy through the Gordon Institute of Business Sciences, South Africa.
Her success lies in her ability to lobby for support for the community and small commercial media. The MDDA is tasked with not only establishing the sector but sustaining these sectors as well. Critical is the industry’s survival amidst technological disruptions, the current pandemic, limited financial support, among others. To this end, Ms Potye has undertaken a process to procure a research company that will conduct sustainability research, culminating in a Sustainability Model for the Community Media Sector in South Africa.