Too many restraints and too little support is cripping the SABC. There needs to be a turnaround strategy, writes Christine Qunta in The Star.

Christine Qunta writes in The Star:

The South African Broadcasting Corporation is the only public broadcaster in the world that has to rely almost exclusively on commercial revenue to fund its operations.

Eighty percent of its revenue is derived from advertising and 17 percent from licence fees.

The government contributes only 2 percent of the corporation's funding, primarily to support specific programmes for the education division of the SABC. The remaining 1 percent of the funds come from sponsorship.

In countries such as Malaysia which is comparable to South Africa, its public broadcaster is 100 percent publicly funded through licence fees.

Unlike the SABC, which has to spend a considerable amount of money to collect licence fees, Malaysia has a body like SARS to collect the fees and hand the money over to the broadcaster.

Similarly, the BBC and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation are also fully funded by the public purse.

* Qunta is a lawyer and deputy chairperson of the SABC Board. She writes in her personal capacity.  Click here to read the full article, which first appeared in The Star on 11 March 2009. (Star subscription required.)