Airwaves battle takes to the streets

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue Mar 29 15:42:56 UTC 2005

>>From the Mercury (South Africa)

Airwaves battle takes to the streets

By Carvin Goldstone

The battle for the 98fm band - involving the Independent Communications
Authority, Verulam-based Good News Community Radio and isiZulu language
station Izwi Lomzansi - led to a demonstration at the Durban City Hall
yesterday. Hundreds of Good News listeners gathered at the city hall in
support of the station and to protest against a High Court decision not to
set aside the authority's refusal to grant the station a four-year

The 10-year-old Christian station will now have to close after the
authority ruled the racial composition of Good News's staff and board
failed to reflect the demographics of its target audience and that its
language policy did not encourage a diversity of languages. Members of
political parties and the provincial government gathered in support of the
station as it handed over a memorandum to representatives of the
broadcasting authority. The memo requested the authority not to oppose
Good News's leave to appeal and to allow the station to continue

The station has also collected 55 000 signatures in support of its licence
application. Gregory Moonsamy, a Director of Ministerial Services in the
office of Arts Culture and Tourism, speaking on behalf of provincial
Minister Narend Singh, said the department supported the station because
it aired inspiring messages and promoted community values.

"The minister has written to national Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe
Casaburri in support of the station and has requested the broadcasting
authority issue a four-year broadcasting licence and give an alternative
frequency to Izwi Lomzansi," said Moonsamy. Supporters of Izwi Lomzanzi,
which was awarded the 98fm band in 2002, were also present at the protest.
Station Manager Vela Xulu said Izwi Lomzanzi had been rightfully awarded
the band after Good News lost the right to appeal. He said Izwi Lomzansi
would broadcast in isiZulu for 80% of the time and in English for the
balance. It would try to represent all religions, and to promote Aids and
drug awareness.

Good News's application for leave to appeal will be heard on Friday.

Published on the web by Mercury on March 29, 2005.  Mercury 2005. All
rights reserved.

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