THE Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Service is not allowed to broadcast any public service announcement (PSA) that does not support government’s agenda.
This is contained in the Public Service Announcement Guidelines of the Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Services (SBIS).
The guidelines were tabled in the House of Assembly by Minister of Information, Communication and Technology Winnie Nxumalo on Monday.
They are to be observed by both the radio station and the public as they are meant for smooth and professional service to the nation.
Part of the guidelines read, “Any PSA that is negative or does not support government’s agenda shall not be allowed.”
The guidelines contain a number of issues that will not be allowed in the national radio station. Among those is that any PSA that is contrary to the laws, regulations and the constitution of the kingdom of Swaziland shall not be allowed.
The terms and conditions of the guidelines stipulate that the radio station will not provide coverage for events, except those authorised by relevant authorities. The guidelines stipulate that a PSA shall be considered to be acceptable if it conforms to the following terms and conditions:
? If it is line with government policy.
? If it is authorised by the chiefs through the regional administrators’ or deputy prime minister’s office (i.e., if it relates to disaster, assistance, financial or otherwise)
? If it’s not used for purposes of campaigning by individuals or groups, or to advance an agenda for political, financial popularity gains for individuals or groups
? A written PSA must bear the letter heads of authorised structures/institutions as well as signature of authorising institution
? Airing times and quantity of airing are per the discretion of the director or principal programme officer
? A written audio/video PSA must bear letter heads of authorised structures/institutions as well as signature of authorised institution
? Broadcasting of PSA on all SBIS channels will only be made on a time available basis
? Submitted copies of written announcements or audio will not be returned
? The submitting person(s) or organisation indemnifies SBIS from any and all liability arising out of or in connection with the making, producing reproducing, exhibiting, distributing, publishing, transmitting by any means or otherwise during the transmission and or recording, distribution of the audio PSA
? SBIS reserves the right to refuse the airing of a PSA on all its channels and is under no obligation to broadcast any information.
Radio guidelines discourage campaigning
THE SBIS guidelines that were tabled in parliament on Monday discourage the use of the radio station for campaigning purposes.
The guidelines state that any PSA organised by or benefiting a political candidate will not be accepted, except in circumstances where prior arrangement has been made with relevant authorities.
It is also stated that such can be done only during official election periods and campaigning has been officially opened to all individuals by the Elections and Boundaries Committee.
Any PSA that is for campaigning purposes will not be broadcasted.
“Any announcement that is for campaigning purposes shall not be allowed, except when it has been sanctioned by relevant authorities.”
The guidelines further emphasise that no programmes, including news bulletins, other than paid for commercial advertising, should not be allowed to promote an individual or organisation. Last week, members of parliament (MPs) had a long debate where they complained about being refused an opportunity to make statements on radio.
They said even when the announcements were development oriented; they were not allowed a chance to speak on radio.
They alleged that both the employees and radio authorities refused them the chance to use the national radio.
Ministers should respond to parly issues
CABINET ministers have the mandate to respond to parliament issues pertaining to their ministries.
This could be done by the minister concerned or the government spokesperson.
This is according to the Public Service Announcement Guidelines that were table in Parliament on Monday. They read; “All broadcasts (programmes and news) that raise issues relating to the executive arm of government should receive a timely response from the concerned ministry or the government spokesperson before being aired. This shall include such issues raised in parliament.
The guidelines are contrary to what parliamentarians have constantly argued about. They were of the view that any matter that is being discussed in parliament cannot be discussed outside parliament until that matter has been concluded.
Also, on Monday Lobamba MP Majahodvwa Khumalo raised concern with the Speaker Prince Guduza as to why some of the issues they were discussing in parliament were addressed in other forums. He was not specific as to which matter he was referring to.
In response to that, Prince Guduza said such an act would be in contempt of parliament. He said anyone who would do so would be liable to a charge of contempt, adding that he was not expecting such to happen.