According to a report on the journalism.co.za website, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is due to launch its own 24-hour television news service, branded SABC News International. The channel is to be beamed across Africa and test transmissions are scheduled to start on 6 June.
“SABC News International will provide on-the-hour news bulletins and news updates,” says Alwyn Kloppers, Manager of Resources at SABC News. Following similar lines to the big international services like CNN, BBC World and Al Jazeera, SABC News International will seek to compete commercially. “We hope to make it commercial and we hope to come up with a solid commercial and marketing plan,” says Kloppers.
The channel will replace the existing SABC Africa satellite television service whose broadcasting contract expires in March 2008. The new channel will be available on Sentech’s relatively unknown VIVID satellite platform. It will be free to air, but users will need to buy a special decoder. The PAS10 footprint used will cover Sub-Saharan Africa from Nigeria to South Africa, according to Sentech’s product manager of signal distribution, Miranda Abrahams.
Initially, programmes will be mainly in English, with French as the second main language. Other languages such as Portuguese could be added later.
Africans Together Vision (ATV), led by Samir Amin, is planning a pan-African channel called A24 TV. In 2006, ATV announced that it aims to give a voice to the continent and that it targets free-to-air television and radio stations complemented by mobile and internet services before autumn 2007.
“We’ve modelled it around Al Jazeera Arabic, not Al Jazeera English. Obviously we’re not aiming to be as controversial as they are … What they do well is give a voice to people in the Middle East. In Africa, we don’t have a voice,” China Daily reported Amin as saying on April 6 2006.
(Source: journalism.co.za website, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa 31 May 07 via BBC Monitoring)