H.E. Dr Mohammed Gharib Bilal, the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania called on the Southern African Broadcasting Association (SABA) to proactively produce and broadcast authentic information to support the development of tourism in Southern Africa. Dr Bilal was officially opening the Digital Broadcasting Summit – Africa, and the SABA Annual General Meeting (AGM) held under the theme: ‘The Role of Broadcasters in Promoting Regional Tourism’ that took place from October 21 – 24, 2013 in Arusha and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area respectively. He advised broadcasters in the region to cooperate and play an active role in conserving and protecting wildlife and the African heritage, which are part of the tourist attractions.
Tourism contributes immensely to the economic development of all the countries in Africa and more so in Southern Africa” he said, adding that broadcasters are trusted to provide authentic information and to proactively develop programmes that will add value to traditional tourist attractions in the SADC Region as well as sensitise the local communities to preserve the environment which is vital for sustaining the attractions. Several SADC Member State broadcasters briefed the Digital Summit on their outlook and plans to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting in time for the International Telecommunication Union switch over deadline of June 17, 2015.Some SADC Member that have taken the lead in introducing Digital Terrestrial Television (DTTV/DTT) shared some of the challenges identified in introducing the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTTV/DTT). These include, financing the DTTV stations, construction of digital transmission networks nation-wide and consumers with no programmes on DTTV or with very few local programmes which are already available on analogue, giving no motivation to buy Set Top Boxes.
While appreciating the many benefits of the DTTV which include the increase of available channels, SABA President, Mr Albertus Aochamub advised the Digital Summit that one of the urgent issues needing in-depth deliberation is how to populate those channels.In this regard, the Digital Summit made several proposals to, amongst others, produce and share local content, considering co-productions that contextualise tourism attractions within the settings of the communities where they are located as opposed to some productions by foreign producers that excluded the people.
Taking advantage of proximity, the SABA AGM was held in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area where the delegates were given a short tour of the Ngorongo Crater, which is one of the Seven Wonders of Africa, three of which are found in the United Republic of Tanzania, namely, the forgone, the Serengeti Wildebeest Migration and Mount Kilimanjaro.The AGM resolved, amongst other things, to facilitate the flow of SADC information to their audiences through several means. This includes the revival of the SADC Calling Radio Broadcasting Programme that was terminated in 2010 due to several logistical issues. The AGM instructed the SABA Secretariat, in collaboration with the SADC Public Relations Unit, to work out the modalities for the improved cooperation with SABA.Having considered two presentations on mainstreaming gender and the media, the AGM also undertook to mainstream gender into broadcasting. The one presentation was, UNESCO: Towards Establishing a Global alliance on Media is in line with the Women and Media Follow-up of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
In this regard, the AGM decided to be represented by a delegation including the Chairperson of the SABA Gender Committee, at the Global Forum on Media and Gender (GFMG) scheduled to take place in December 02 – 04, 2013 in Thailand, Bangkok. This is a pioneering global event seeking to address gender equality and women’s empowerment in, and through the media. The other presentation was on the Findings of a Gender Mainstreaming Study in Southern Africa in relation to the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action. It outlined the representation of women in decision making positions of selected national broadcasters. What the study has not dealt with is whether or not such representation translates into the contents that their audiences get as end users.
The Digital Summit – Africa and the SABA AGM were hosted by the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation.