Since the mid 1990’s, MISA has been campaigning for greater broadcasting diversity in southern Africa to combat the domination of state broadcasters and the exclusion of other voices. We advocate for a three-tier system for broadcasting: public service, commercial and community, as outlined in the African Charter on Broadcasting.
Almost every country in the region, save for Zimbabwe, has private broadcasters. Some countries like Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho and Zimbabwe have initiated community radio initiatives while they wait for policy and legal reforms allowing community radio licenses.
Community media is operated in the community, for the community, about the community and by the community. It is independent, free from political or commercial interference and can therefore facilitate public platforms for debate and discussion and promote social agendas.
The reach of community media, particularly radio, means it provides information and a platform of expression to remote, grassroots communities that may not be represented in other media. The main challenges community radio and television faces in the region are lack of legislation, regulation and infrastructure to support the establishment and licensing of community media, and the inability to sustain themselves beyond donor seed money.
Public service broadcasting
Public service broadcasting is created, financed and controlled by the public, for the public. It is neither commercial nor state-owned, and is therefore free from political or commercial interference.
Public service broadcasting informs, educates and entertains. It is an essential part of a pluralistic, diverse broadcasting sector.