Broadcasting Services

South Africa’s Broadcasters Make Drastic Changes To Deal With COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown have necessitated some drastic operational changes at South Africa’s major TV broadcasters.

The SABC and Etv have revealed that they respectively have implemented several measures to ensure that they are able to continue providing daily programming to South Africans.
This includes their significant role as media institutions, which is an essential service during the lockdown.

These broadcasters play a crucial role in providing South Africans with important updates and information about the coronavirus pandemic.

As the country’s public broadcaster, the SABC has the mandate to use its channels to keep South Africans informed.

SABC’s Spokesperson, Mmoni Seapolelo recently told MyBroadband that the organisation had undertaken several initiatives to help with nationwide efforts to reduce COVID-19 infections and also to curb the spread of the virus.

Seapolelo highlighted a number of activities that the SABC had undertaken to ensure that it can continue operations, namely: amplifying news and current affairs content, establishing an off-site broadcast area which with Outside Broadcast (OB) vehicles which cater for TV and radio broadcasts and also joining forces with the Department of Basic Education to deliver a multimedia learner support programme, among other efforts.

Seapolelo added that the SABC had enough material for some programming, but said that the continued broadcasting of local content was still the subject of many discussions.

Seapolelo noted that the national broadcaster is not considering salary cuts at this time, as this would negatively impact the livelihoods of the employees.

Etv’s Managing Director, Marlon Davids, said that the free-to-air-broadcaster had been able to continue broadcasting during the lockdown successfully.

He said that channels had remained operational during the national lockdown period despite the business reducing the number of employees who physically access the premises.

Davids added that many tasks were being carried out remotely by employees who are working from home.

For instances where employees are required to report to the broadcaster’s premises, Davids said that hygiene protocol was aligned with advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Etv, however, was unable to comment on questions regarding potential salary cuts and retrenchments.

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