CAPE Town TV (CTV),Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â a Cape Town community television channel, has been forced to go off air because it can't pay its transmission bill, according to a release from Misa.
Cash flow problems have inhibited the stationÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s ability to pay its transmission costs, but the stationÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s management says its confident that the situation will be resolved shortly, when the necessary funds have been raised.
CTV chairman Martin Jansen,Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â said ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œCTV has to pay normal commercial rates for its signal transmission to Sentech. There are no reduced rates for community television and radio broadcasters, despite their non-profit status. While community radio stations are subsidized by the Department of Communications, the Department has not implemented this for community television. This means that CTV has to carry the entire cost of transmission, which is an onerous burden for an NGO ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ and especially for CTV as a new entrant into the media fieldÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWhilst community broadcasting is envisaged by government policy and legislation to play a developmental role that provides direct freedom of expression to the public, no provision is made by the state for its sustainability. Community television is left to survive in the competitive commercial market and often attracts less commercial advertising and sponsorship. It is imperative therefore that in order for the state to give real meaning to freedom of expression as contained in our countryÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s constitution, community broadcasting must be subsidized by the state in order for it to survive, remain true to its community purpose and not to fall prey to commercially driven interests.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he said
The station needs R150 000 immediately to get back on air and in the longer term, R600 000 is needed to cover the transmission costs.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Programme Manager Shelley Barry,Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â also added that CTV has been operating on very minimal resources and it is a tribute to the unceasing efforts of our dedicated staff that we have managed to bring programming that is informative, entertaining and an alternative to the mainstream.