Celebrating 20 years of contributing to media transformation

Monday, June 12, 2023

In its 20 years of existence, the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) has contributed to the transformation of the media industry through the provision of grant funding to community media.

“Since its inception, the agency has funded a total number of 586 community media projects. This number includes 321 community broadcast projects in the form of community radio and community TV stations, and 185 community print projects in the form of community newspapers, community magazines and small commercial print projects,” the MDDA said.

The MDDA facilitates the growth of the community broadcast, print and digital sectors in several ways; the biggest part of its mandate is to encourage the ownership, control, and access to media by historically disadvantaged communities as well as by the historically diminished Indigenous language and cultural groups.

“The concept of the MDDA was rooted in the founding consensus of our democracy, in the understanding that our nation’s legacy of imbalances and exclusions could be overcome through a partnership of all sectors of society, for our vision of a new society to become one for all South Africans.

“The agency was informed by the belief that if we address some of the fundamental problems in the media environment then the issues of content and diversity of opinion would take care of themselves,” Chairperson of the Board of the MDDA, Professor Hlengani Mathebula said.

To mark the 20-year anniversary of the agency, the Board has approved the celebration of the agency through a variety of events.

These celebrations will highlight the importance of quality ethical journalism, community media sustainability, the advancement of social-cohesion and human rights by community media; and different critical media-related topics and issues.

“For the past 20 years, the MDDA has stayed true to its statutory mandate of consistently seeking to redress exclusion and marginalisation of disadvantaged communities and persons with disabilities from access to the media and media industry.

“The agency also collaborates with communities at the grassroots level through the projects funded in all corners of South Africa, as it also seeks to enable communities to be active citizens and provide them with access to the information, they need to play a real part in the country’s democracy,” the MDDA said.

Monthly events will be hosted by the agency from June to November 2023 under the theme:  “Democracy and Diversity: “Celebrating 20 Years of Access to Information and Media Freedom through community media.”

On Monday at 6pm, the MDDA in collaboration with the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) will engage listeners of community radio stations across the country.

This syndicated radio interactive broadcast will hone in on the role of youth as agents of community development through media. 

The programme will involve the Acting CEO of MDDA, Ms Nomkhosi Peter, Ms Phumla Williams, former DG of GCIS and an activist from the youth of 1976 as well as participation by the National Youth Development Agency. 

The details for dial in are toll-free number 0800 142 446 or on a WhatsApp number 065 935 5488.

On Tuesday, the agency has invited various stakeholders to a cocktail launch taking place at the ICC Hotel in East London.

This event will be the launch pad of the MDDA 20th Celebrations and will be jointly hosted by the Deputy Minister in the Presidency Ms Nomasonto Motoung and Professor Hlengani Mathebula the chairperson of the Board of MDDA.

On Wednesday, the MDDA is launching the State-of-the-Art Digital Broadcast Studios for Vukani Community Radio in Cala, one of its beneficiaries from the last funding grant call.

More information on the events can be found by e-mailing: 082 785 6071. Information will also be shared on the agency’s website and social media platforms. – SAnews