The Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) and SANLAM have joined forces again this year to celebrate excellence in the local media industry of South Africa. The MDDA/SANLAM Local Media Awards 2012 includes the inaugural Rantho/Letsebe Community Media Achievement Award and will be presented at a gala dinner in the Coastlands Umhlanga Hotel (329 Umhlanga Rocks Drive, Umhlanga), Durban, on Friday evening the 18th May 2012, 18h30. The Awards Gala Dinner will be attended by the Minister Collins Chabane (Minister in the Presidency), Deputy Minister of Communications Stella Tembisa Ndabeni, Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications Chair Skhumbuzo Eric Kholwane, captains of the industry and close to 300 editors, journalists, photographers, broadcasters and peers.
The MDDA/SANLAM Local Media Awards bring together the (more than 22 years of SANLAM Community Newspaper Awards and four years of SABC News/MDDA Community Media Awards) into one big future event the MDDA/SANLAM Local Media Awards in the best interest of developing grassroots/local media talent, celebrating and promoting excellence. Recently this year, the MDDA and the Print Media South Africa (PMSA, which includes, Media 24 LTD, CTP Limited, Independent Newspapers LTD and Avusa LTD) have agreed to use the MDDA Act of 2002 as a basis to define community and small commercial media. Historically, the term community media has been used loosely to include media owned by the mainstream and media owned by the community. This has led to an unintended consequence whereby the results in respect of adspent, the who's who and categorisation of media landscape were always distorted. For example, the annual reflection of adspent into community media included media titles owned by the mainstream. After several engagements with industry bodies and Parliament, it has now been decided that the industry recognise the MDDA Act of 2002 which is also in line with the Electronic Communications Act of 2005 and commonly use the MDDA Act definitions. These are:
Community Media - in terms of the MDDA Act means any media project that is owned and controlled by a community where any financial surplus generated is reinvested in the media project; and "community" means a geographically founded community or any group of persons or sector of the public having a specific ascertainable common interest;
Small Commercial Media (SMME) - in terms of the MDDA Act means independent media enterprises or initiatives that are run for personal gain as micro, very small or small businesses as classified in the National Small Business Act, 1996 (Act No. 102 of 1996).
The above definitions exclude corporate owned local newspapers and magazines, which is local distributed media by corporate media owners like Caxton, Media 24, Independent Newspapers, etc. This agreement is a milestone in the pursuit of developing and promoting media diversity. It will also assist in ensuring that appropriate advertising is spent in community media. The MDDA will launch an online register of all community and small commercial publishers to inform a database that will be publicly available. The parties committed to continue join hands in assisting the building of an environment where a diverse, vibrant and creative media flourishes and reflects the needs of all South Africans.
The MDDA/SANLAM Local Media Awards recognises the following subsectors/categories of the local media: (1) on Print media - Community Media, Small Commercial Media (SMME), other Independent and Corporate Owned Local Media; (2) on broadcasting - Community Broadcasting (Radio and TV). This year's MDDA/SANLAM Local Media Awards include the inaugural Rantho/Letsebe Community Media Achievement Award. This award is dedicated to the many community media activists, Heroes and Heroines who passed away, and is given the name of the late Tshepo Rantho and the late Harry Letsebe. It is given to the best community media project in South Africa that ensures the noble principles of community ownership and control, community participation, relevant community content in the languages spoken in the community served.
This year, some 509 community and small commercial newspapers, corporate owned local newspapers and community radio stations from across the country as well as one from Namibia participated. No fewer than 921 individual entries in the typography, writing, photography and 79 entries for the radio categories (Best Community Radio Station, Broadcasting in Indigenous Languages, In-depth News Coverage and Current Affairs, and in Investigative Journalism) were judged. More than 213 photographs and over 79 radio programmes were also assessed individually. This makes the competition the largest of the many community/grassroots competitions held in South Africa annually.
Category sponsors of the MDDA/SANLAM Local Media Awards include Sentech, Wits University, ABSA, The Media Connection, Mediashop and M&G Media (as a media partner).