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Media Centre  |  News

Report on the transformation of print and digital media-PDMTTT

Neo Bodibe, PDMTTT Spokesperson, 27 September 2013

The Print and igital Media Transformation Task Team [PDMTTT] today has handed over its report to Print and Digital Media SA at an event in Media Park, Auckland Park, Johannesburg
Most print media companies in South Africa-magazine and newspaper business, with their digital products belong to the print industry body called Print and Digital Media South Africa [PDMSA].
Since the end of apartheid, there has been criticism that the business side of this industry has not transformed to reflect the equality and democracy of the new South Africa.
This criticism accelerated in the past few years, resulting in PDMSA appointing its own task team of experts to examine the industry’s transformation and make recommendations.
Work of the PDMTTT
The mandate of the PDMTTT was defined as ; to assist the industry to develop a common vision and strategy for transformation in relation to newspapers, magazines and digital, for mainstream and community publishing, to ensure that print and digital media become truly South African.
The PDMTTT started work in September 2012, doing research and inviting submissions from identified stakeholders.
In the first part of 2013, it held hearings in Johannesburg, east London, Tzaneen and Durban.
It received 56 written and/or oral submissions from small commercial publishers, big print media companies, industry bodies, political parties, trade unions, academics and others.
The PDMTTT was not concerned with the content of media but instead with the key pillars of transformation according to the BBBEE Codes.
These are; equity ownership, management control, employment equity, skills development, preferential procurement, enterprise development and socio-economic development.
The team found that the print and digital media industry has failed to transform itself sufficiently in a number of key areas; ownership and management and control, as well as skills development and employment equity, with particular reference to women and disabled.
The industry has however, done well in areas such as socio-economic development, preferential procurement and in some instances enterprise development.
The team felt that a charter, without even entertaining the notions of its feared threats to media freedom, was however, not necessary.
Instead, a full implementation of the BEE codes, which the industry profess to accept, would ensure sufficient transformation.
To achieve this, the task team has set targets in some key areas that would have to be met, and has recommended that the print and digital media use the transformation targets contained in this report even in areas where these may coincide or vary with the BBBEE code.
In order to monitor and measure transformation, the team has directed that the annual targets each company sets itself for compliance should be made public and that PDMSA conducts an annual industry performance audit and makes it publicly available.
The team has identified digital media as the new game changer for transformation and a frontier of media development that is going to serve as a key leveller for communities presently excluded from national discourse.
It was found that there has been good growth in national government advertising going into the community and small commercial print media publications as well as radio.
this report does not deal with allegations of anti-competitive behaviour as the Competition Commission has started a full investigation into such allegations in the print media arena.
However, the team found that there was a high level of mistrust among small commercial publishers regarding the behaviour of the big media companies.
Key recommendations
The full 100-page report of the PDMTTT contains a total of 39 recommendations.
Here is a summary of some of the key ones;
All PDMSA members must individually meet the generic scoreboard ownership target of 25% plus 1 or the full points of 20 within the three years. It is important that this commitment on ownership be met.
Management control and employment equity
At least half of all board participants must be black and half of these must be women.
This target should be achieved within three years and should lead to change in management composition.
Skills Development
The major print media groups should score no less than 12 out of 15 on skills development, with a view to improving employment equity, management control an gender equity scores.
Digital media
government’s planned 100% broadband penetration by 2020 has to be if the country is not lag behind in news provision for the people.
There is a need for digital skills to be taught, and PDMSA should take a lead in this and in ensuring creating partnerships with the small publishers and finding ways to build trust. Provincial governments should support them with adspend and contribute funding to the MDDA.
Association of Independent Publishers [AIP]
PDMSA should consider increased funding for AIP so that the association can play a bigger role in transformation, particularly in helping small commercial and community media get national advertising representation an business skills training. AIP should be included in the ABC auditing sub-committee.
The major print media companies must draw up strategies to promote women to senior management levels, and ensure women employees are targeted for skills development.
PDMSA should commit itself to promoting the growth of titles in previously marginalized languages, and encourage the development of language skills to publish in those languages.
For further information:
Nkwenkwe Nkomo, PDMTTT Chairperson 0827743069
Neo Bodibe, PDMTTT Spokesperson, 0837620185
PDMTTT Secretariat
Mathatha Tsedu 0824540527