Monday, March 19, 2007

SABC plans 24-hour world TV news channel

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) plans to launch a 24-hour news and current affairs TV channel, SABC International, next year. On Friday, News and Current Affairs head Snuki Zikalala told the national assembly’s communications portfolio committee that a test run for SABC International was planned for June 7 this year.
It is not the first time the broadcaster has flirted with an around-the-clock news channel. SABC Africa was established with this in mind, but Zikalala admitted on Sunday that it had failed because the broadcaster had to rely on other bureaus for news.
But, Zikalala said, this time the SABC was ready. “We have been opening bureaus all over Africa, South America and Europe.” He said a bureau had opened in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Kenyan office had been expanded and there were also negotiations with Zimbabwean authorities for permission to open an office there. He said bureaus would be opened in Brazil, Jamaica and Senegal this year and that a second office would be opened in London.
The channel would be satellite based, with free feeds to SABC2 viewers at certain times of the day, he said. “SABC International will generate lively debate from countries in Africa, but at the same time have live cross-over feeds to our bureaus around the world,” he told MPs. He said SABC would spend R20-million (US$2.7 million) this year on getting the channel up and running. This excluded expenditure on developing the foreign bureaus.
(Source: Pretoria News/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)