The Save our SABC Coalition is calling on people to sign a petition to widen the possibilities for public involvement in the appointment of the new SABC Board.  The petition calls for more time for the nomination period, and for the call for nominations to be more widely distributed, to ensure that the process is as participatory as possible. The full text follows below, and there is a link allowing people to sign it.

The Save our SABC Coalition's petition reads:

To:  South African Parliament

Nominations for the new permanent SABC Board

The “Save our SABC” Campaign believes it is critical that the general public feels ownership of the SABC. It is our SABC. One of the most important ways for us to feel this ownership and for the general public to get actively involved is to put forward names for the Board.

We note that the invitation for nominations has been released and the deadline has been set for the end of this month – 31 July 2009. Further we note that small notices have been placed in the supplementary sections of the Mail&Guardian, Star, Sunday Times and Rapport newspapers.

The Coalition is concerned for two reasons. Firstly, we believe that the nomination period is extremely tight and secondly we believe that the dissemination process as regards notifying the public re: the nomination process is wholly insufficient.

To ensure that this critical process is taken forward in a positive and constructive way the Coalition proposes the following:

– That the nomination process if possible be extended to the end of August 2009.
– That Parliament immediately set aside a budget to ensure that notices are carried in the main body sections of all key national and provincial newspapers – and particularly in newspapers read by ordinary South Africans such as the Daily Sun.
– That public service announcements are carried on all free-to-air channels including all SABC channels and e.TV.
– That public service announcements are carried on all community radio stations and also in community publications.
– That Government Communication Information System (GCIS) and statutory bodies such as the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) are creatively utilised to ensure that nomination notices are further disseminated.

As civil society organisations we also promise, from our side, that we will use our own networks to ensure maximum dissemination of this important information.

Also, further to this public nomination process, we believe there needs to be maximum transparency to ensure maximum public confidence in the nomination and selection process. We have the following suggestions:

– That the names of nominators and nominees are made public through the Parliamentary website and other accessible websites.
– That all CVs of short-listed nominees are housed on the Parliamentary website and other accessible websites for public scrutiny.
– That all interviews are televised and put on free-to-air radio and television channels at times when the majority of people are watching.
– Finally, that MPs give reasons for their choices as regards their final shortlist.