SABC attacks MMA over research findings

Cape Town – The SABC has gone on the defensive and has launched an attack on Media Monitoring Africa's (MMA) report findings, with the SABC saying that it finds it "disappointing that the organisation chose to make public findings that are based on dubious methodological methods that were conducted in isolation".

The SABC says the MMA's only intention with the research study was "simply to grandstand the SABC".

The MMA's research found that the SABC is awash in repeats, soap operas and not meeting its language mandates.

The MMA decided to analyse the SABC's schedules between April to mid-May and watched all of the news bulletins after which it compiled the scathing research findings indicating that over 20% of the SABC's programming are repeats, with soap operas dominating and the quality of news and language diversity suffering.

"There is no basis for the criteria assumed by MMA in assessing the corporation's performance," says the SABC in a press statement.

"The SABC operates within the ambit of licence conditions, regulations and legislation wherein the criteria is fully set for assessing the SABC's performance," says the public broadcaster.

Research was self-serving

The SABC says the research conducted by MMA "was self-serving and never sought to test the SABC's performance against the regulatory requirements set by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) - the only authority and legitimate body with genuine power to assess the performance of the broadcaster".

The SABC says the broadcaster has implemented an intensive turnaround strategy to ensure the organisation's sustainability in the future.

"The report claim to be assessing quality and diversity of content, but failed to provide authentic and researched criteria that has been benchmarked against any source of authority. The criteria utilised remains MMA's opinion of what should go into news or content schedules," says the SABC.

"The most interesting part is that the MMA did not consult with the SABC as a subject of the research and also did not consult or do any audience survey," says the SABC.

[The MMA in its research finding however note that it did try, but was unsuccessful in obtaining final control centre (FCC) sheets from the SABC.]


According to the MMA research, although English is only spoken as a first language by 8% of the population and the SABC is required to broadcast in all official languages, English dominates in SABC programming (76%).

A massive 65% of all locally produced content on the SABC is in English. The next biggest languages trailing far behind are Afrikaans at only 6% and Zulu (5%), Xhosa, Sotho and Tshivenda (3%).

According to the MMA research, SABC1 uses 28% of its broadcasting time for repeat programming, SABC2 uses 21% of its airtime for repeats and SABC3 allocates 15% of its broadcasting time for repeats.

Furthermore only 41% of the content on SABC3 is local. That means that almost a quarter - 21% of all broadcasting time on the SABC - is devoted to rebroadcasts.

Public forum

The SABC says "the methodology applied in determining percentages on genres and languages is flawed and has no basis in the license conditions or regulations".

The MMA invited the SABC to the public forum held this past Friday where the research findings were announced, but the SABC declined.

"Given that prior consultation with the SABC on matters raised in a public forum did not take place, the SABC felt it could not participate in the forum to discuss the findings of the report as requested by the MMA," says the SABC.

"It is clear from our review of the document that the intention was simply to grandstand the SABC. It is of grave concern that MMA, which is supposedly an industry leader in its field, despite acknowledging its own limitations in the research, continued to make the report public."

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IAnon Ym 2012/09/07 09:35:31 AM
Listen SABC - you are friggen useless - period !!!
cANCer 2012/09/07 09:56:54 AM
They're only attacking because they know they are caught in a corner. Just accept it SABC, you are a pathetic joke!
logical007 2012/09/07 10:01:49 AM
come on SABC prove the research wrong... put original programming on.... put intelligent progamming on... lose the soaps!
OwenCPT 2012/09/07 10:04:35 AM
SABC... you are PATHETIC... just accept it
Sht Stirrer 2012/09/07 10:10:00 AM
Interesting to note that nowhere does the SABC dispute the actual figures and findings - their only complaint is that MMA had no right to judge them :-)
Peter Ndamase 2012/09/07 10:12:54 AM
Here is another research finding....... SABC is useless, promoting international material, they do not listen to what the viewers want...
Senzo Mathebula 2012/09/07 10:14:13 AM
Watch the news on SABC and Etv tonight, Ull c that MMA is right. SABC is a joke!
Okuhle Mgoboza 2012/09/07 10:25:16 AM
its so true hey, iv been watching the SABC for the last 10 years, their middle name should be repeats, we were forced to buy DSTV coz of them findings are so true
Mbulelo Pikoli 2012/09/07 10:50:30 AM
SABC is a joke really prove them wrong,do something
MarkH 2012/09/07 10:51:41 AM
The SABC is the propaganda arm of the ANC and I bet nobody who works(?) in the organization even watches the crap they broadcast. By the way, "Grandstanding" is a poor choice of word - "Highlighting low standards" may have been more apt. I wouldn't trust the SABC to provide the time of day, never mind entertain, inform and amuse me.