Deputy Minister in the Presidency Thembi Siweya and the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) have unveiled a new state-of-the-art digital broadcast studio at Ugu Youth Radio 93.4 FM in KwaZulu-Natal.
Ugu Youth Radio was established by young people from the Ugu district municipality with the intention of providing a platform for youth to use to raise their issues, views and aspirations.
As a beneficiary of MDDA funding, Ugu Youth Radio contributes to the delivery of the MDDA’s mandate of media diversity by providing a marginalised community with a voice, in the languages (isiZulu, isiXhosa and English) of the community’s choice.
Ugu Youth Radio is one of over 150 community radio stations that have been supported by the MDDA over the past 15 years.
In addition, the MDDA noted the positive response to its new project funding policy and application process, both from the community radio sector and MDDA funders.
The new policy and process has been implemented to streamline the MDDA’s application process, and therefore enhance efficiencies. It will also enable it to effectively deliver on its mandate of providing access to the media to those historically disadvantaged groups traditionally side-lined by the mainstream media.
At Friday’s unveiling, community media were given the opportunity to interact with the MDDA Acting CEO Zukiswa Potye and the Deputy Minister on the new funding policy and application process in a live broadcast simulcast to 65 community radio stations across South Africa.
“With some 15 years of the MDDA funding projects, we urgently needed to review the process of and criteria against which we fund projects as the current media landscape is very different to that of the early years of the agency,” said Potye.
Other developments shared with the funders at the event included the formal partnerships that are about to be signed by the MDDA with critical stakeholders to the community media sector, such as the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), Sentech and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda).