Broadcasting scores at CBA Conference in South Africa

With soccer on everyone’s mind in South Africa, the theme for this year’s Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) conference, Broadcasting Scores, was well chosen. The conference was hosted by South Africa’s national broadcaster, SABC and held in Johannesburg last month.

The CBA’s 28th conference opened with a reminder to the media of its crucial role as an upholder of freedom, being the voice to the audiences it seeks to serve.


In its opening sessions, SABC Board Chairperson Ben Ngubane reiterated the South African public broadcaster’s unwavering commitment to broadcasting for total citizen empowerment, which has long been part of the cooperation’s vision.

“In today’s ever-changing broadcasting landscape, which is continuously being informed by upgrades in technology, broadcasting is no longer a one-way street. More and more, user-generated content features on all sorts of media platforms. This not only gives citizens an opportunity to make their voices heard by decision-makers, but also creates an opening for citizens to be part of the broadcasting experience.”

Ngubane cautioned that, in the quest to include so many voices, editors need to be extra vigilant to circumvent cases where the media is abused by those with unscrupulous agendas.


South Africa’s Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda told delegates the conferences must not be only a ‘talk shop’, but a chance for role players to work together to find solutions to foster media freedom and democracy.

“Broadcasting has a crucial role to play in ensuring that every country meets its developmental objectives. It is important that this gathering engages in intense debates on how broadcasting can contribute to the fight against poverty and many other social ills that continue to ravage society today such as HIV and Aids.”


Outgoing CBA president Abubakar Jijiwa extended good wishes to the SABC as it prepared to air one of sports’ biggest spectaculars,  the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The conference gave delegates an opportunity to visit Soccer City Stadium, one of the World Cup venues.


ABC Managing Director Mark Scott spoke of “New Opportunities, New Obligations: PSB in the era of choice” in a keynote on the second day. This was followed by a discussion on media freedom issues in the Commonwealth and in Africa. As a result of this session, the CBA sent this protest to the Government of Jamaica:

“The CBA, meeting in Johannesburg on 21 April, was shocked to hear of proposed new measures in Jamaica. We understand that all broadcasters there will be required to broadcast Government news headlines ten times per day. This will damage the independence and credibility of the media in Jamaica as well as reducing commercial viability through the destruction of formats. We know of no Commonwealth country which has adopted such measures, and urge Jamaica, which has an excellent reputation for media freedom, to engage in discussion with the Jamaica media and to abandon this intended provision.”


Moneeza Hashmi from HUM TV in Pakistan was elected President of the CBA.

In other conference outcomes: R16,000 was raised for the education of South African Broadcasters, a News Exchange service was announced for Association members, resolutions on Broadcasting and Climate Change were agreed, and agreement was reached on the way ahead for Broadcasting and Social Justice.

The conference also announced a Training Course for Regulators and launched an updated 4th edition of the CBA’s Editorial Guidelines and Guidelines for Broadcasters on Promoting User-generated Content, Media and Information Literacy.

CBA Secretary-General, Elizabeth Smith announced she will retire in October. Her post will then be advertised.


Winners of the CBA Awards were presented with their prizes at the Conference. For a full list of winners, click the link below.