Abstracts

Mashilo Boloka
Department of Journalism,
Durban Institute of Technology,
Durban

Monitoring and Evaluating Community Participation in Development Media Projects: Some Reflections on Community Radio in South Africa

This paper aims to monitor and evaluate the state of community in development media projects.  Although the term development media is broad encompassing multipurpose centres, community newspapers and television, the paper focuses on community radio.  The focus on community radio was influenced by community radio phenomenal growth of this sector in the post apartheid South Africa and the strict conditions attached to it by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa with regard to community participation.  In other words, in contrast with its mainstream counterparts, community radio was evaluated on the basis of community participation.  While the past ten years can be used to measure the success of community sound broadcasting given audience growth in South Africa, it has been a difficult and desperate decade characterized temporary closures due to lack of financing, limited know-how, the bickering at the stations between the board and the management, negative reception from advertising and rampant poaching from mainstream broadcasters (both commercial and public) who used community radio as their training grounds to get ready-made staff (both management and on-air).  This project is an expansion of the initial one carried towards the end of 2005 as part of the preparation to the country's regulatory review of community broadcasting since its inception in 1995.  The initial study revealed a growing apathy in amongst communities on community radio.  However, the results of the study were not conclusive as they were largely based on a very small sample of stations based in one province.  The study further investigates the underlying reasons for this and possible solutions. 

 
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Peace Institute Slovenian Communication Association Dep't of Media Studies