A number of representative organisations have issued the following statement on the SABC forcing the Tuesday Night Radio Show off the air:
“As registered representatives of the LGBTI sector, the Joint Working Group (JWG) would like to express its disappointment with the recent decision by the Airtime Sales (Oracle), Radio 2000 management and Mr. Afzal Mohamed (General Manager: Public Broadcasting Services) to effectively terminate the current agreement the Tuesday Night Live show has with Radio 2000.
Whereas some commercial stations conflate gay and lesbian issues within existing programmes, Tuesday Nite Live had grown to become an institution and gave the LGBTI sector a much needed voice. It can be safely assumed that 10% of South Africa’s population is gay or lesbian.
As a marginalized group with its own unique community interest, gay and lesbian people need their own public media. As the public broadcaster, we believe that the SABC has an obligation to ensure fair and adequate representation regarding gay and lesbian issues. In this light, it is extremely regrettable that the only exclusively gay and lesbian radio show has been forced to cease its activities.
It remains questionable as to why the show was given new fees structure and a graveyard shift. We hope that it is not yet a further act of indirect discrimination nor a case of not valuing the needs of a community that faces countless acts of silencing and human rights abuses. The group believes that the negotiations were in bad faith as it appears that the station’s sole intention was to squeeze the show off air.
We call on the SABC to publicly explain:
- Why Tuesday Nite Live seemed to have been treated as a problem case with bully tactics;
- How the SABC as a public broadcaster aims to pluralise broadcast interests;
- The reason behind imposing commercial rates on a marginalized community;
- The failure of the SABC to identify alternative broadcast vehicles.
The Joint Working Group is a working coalition of six registered Non-Governmental Organisations working with LGBTI issues. There are also two partner organisations. It has three combined programmes, those being research, marketing and lesbian proggrammes.
The members of the group are: Behind the Mask; Durban Lesbian and Gay Community and Health Centre; Forum for the Empowerment of Women; Gay and Lesbian Archives; OUT LGBT Well-being; Triangle Project; UNISA Centre for Applied Psychology (partner); and UNISA Centre for Gender Studies (partner).