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MDDA celebrates five years of success

In its five years operational, the MDDA has made its mark in developing and diversifying the media landscape, through the guidance of the MDDA Board, the dedication of management and staff, and the adherence to the dictates of the Public Finance and Management Act.
The MDDA is a statutory development agency for promoting, supporting and ensuring media development and diversity, set up as a partnership between the South African Government and major print and broadcasting media companies, in terms of the MDDA Act No. 14 of 2002.

Highlights of success:
  • Setting up of organisation and systems in 2003 as well as moving into new premises in 2006;
  • Developed set of regulations to govern MDDA;
  • Developed and instituted effective organisational policies;
  • Maintained the ongoing review of organisation, systems, procedures and policies;
  • Grown its human resource capacity to 22, recruited and filled in all staff vacancies to run the affairs of the organisation;
  • Finalised funding agreements with government and funders;
  • Made the first funding decision in January 2004;
  • Expenditure of approximately R73m by January 2009 for 229 media projects. These range from community radio, community TV, community newspapers, magazines, small commercial newspapers, etc. throughout the country;
  • More than 39 of these projects did not exist prior to the establishment of the MDDA grant funding;
  • Provision of bursaries to more than 49 different radio and print managers;
  • Concluded a R20m worth agreement with the Department of Communications, to support community radio programme production capacity;
  • Participated and signed the MAC Charter;
  • Completed a number of researches into challenges facing community and small commercial media sector, which are available on its website;
  • Development of a database of grassroots publications in partnership with AIPSA;
  • Initiated and supported mobilisation workshops on shortages and availability of resources for the sector;
  • Finalising research into trends of media ownership and control in South Africa;
  • Finalising an advertising and marketing toolkit for community and small commercial media;
  • Finalising and about to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Universal Service and Access Agency, in order to work together in respect of universal service and access in the broadcasting industry;
  • Running a successful mentorship programme, supporting new initiatives countrywide;
  • Supported a number of capacity building and training programmes in a whole range of areas, including financial management, advertising and marketing, essentials of media management, etc.
  • Engaged with ICASA and Broadcasting Service Licensees (round table held on the 22nd October 2007 negotiations subsequent to the prescription of the ICASA Regulation, 10 October 2008) regarding the ECA and the review of the funding agreements;
  • Ongoing discussions with Print Media Association of SA (PMSA) regarding the review of the funding agreements, (roundtable 30th September 2008);
  • Increase in the government funding, with R9m for the MTEF 2008/11 over and above the R2m increase in 2007/8;
  • Consistent receipt of unqualified audits not even with matters of emphasis;
  • Maintained good relations and good profile with stakeholders; funders Parliament, the Presidency, DoC, GCIS, beneficiaries, etc.;
  • Placed MDDA on the public agenda and raised public awareness about media development and diversity;
  • Received international recognition as a unique public, private partnership to support media development and diversity;
  • Developed staff in areas such as Project Management, Financial Management, Financial modules, Secretariat, Business writing skills, supervisory management, advocacy training, etc.; Developed capacity in Monitoring and Evaluation, Project management; records management, financial management and risk management. Working as a team internally;
  • Evaluated MDDA organisationally after 4 years of operation;
  • Continuously reached its disbursement target.

Challenges ahead:
General growth in the sector demands a strong well-resourced funding agency. Currently we receive more than R150m worth of applications, which means without increased funding, the Agency will fail to support initiatives aimed at giving meaning to the noble objects of the MDDA Act and promotion of access to media to all as envisaged by the Constitution Act of 1996. The MDDA support is needed on an ongoing basis in underdeveloped areas, as sustainability of some projects is reliant on development of those areas.

Conclusion
All of the MDDA achievements over the last five years have been made possible by the assiduous dedication, passion, commitment and positive contributions of the board of the Agency, management, staff and constant support from its funding partners and collaboration with its social partners.

The Agency as it celebrates, take the opportunity to thank the Government (whose valuable support for the Agency through GCIS and the Presidency has made its work manageable) and the funding partners of the MDDA [SABC, Primedia Broadcasting, MNET, Kagiso Broadcasting, MIDI TV, Media 24, CTP, Independent Newspapers and AVUSA]. We look forward to renew our funding agreements with all partners in 2009, strengthen our relationship and work together towards ensuring that each and every South African citizen has access to a choice of a diverse range of media.

16 Feb 2009 12:08

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