Not just a benevolent bystander

The corrosive role of private sector media on the sustainability of the South African Broadcasting Corporation

Authored by: Kate Skinner

Routledge Handbook of African Media and Communication Studies

Print publication date:  February  2021
Online publication date:  February  2021

Print ISBN: 9781138574779
eBook ISBN: 9781351273206
Adobe ISBN:


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Post-apartheid, South Africa’s public service broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), has been one of the only examples of public service (as opposed to state) broadcasting on the African continent (Bussiek 2013). Once one of Africa’s most notorious state broadcasters, the SABC was transformed post 1994 into a public-service broadcaster through a number of policy and legislative processes. This, however, has been a difficult, stop-start process. The corporation has experienced challenges at the level of governance, management, finances and editorial independence. These problems intensified from 2007 onwards, with the SABC experiencing near constant board and management instability and also financial instability (Lloyd et al 2010; Ad hoc Committee 2017).

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