About SOS

What is it?

TVIEC march to the SABC - 4 June 2009

(Picture: Marc Schwinges) TVIEC march to the SABC - 4 June 2009 (Picture: Marc Schwinges)

SOS is a Civil Society Coalition engaged in a single-issue campaign. The Coalition is committed to, and campaigns for, public broadcasting in the public interest. While the SABC is its primary focus, the Coalition also looks at community media.

Who?

The Coalition is made up of: a broad range of NGOs, CBOs, Trade Unions, Trade Union Federations, and individuals (academics, freedom of expression activists, policy and legal consultants, actors, script-writers, film-makers, producers, directors etc).

Purpose?

The Coalition’s purpose is to lobby for the strengthening of public and community broadcasting in the public interest broadly, with the aim of ensuring excellent programming for South African audiences, particularly on the SABC.

The Coalition does this through:

  • Lobbying for citizen friendly policy, regulatory and legislative changes in relation to public and community broadcasting
  • Lobbying for appropriate public accountability and transparency from all institutions governing public and community broadcasting including: Parliament, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), the Department and Ministry of Communications, the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) and the SABC and community broadcasters.
  • Lobbying for quality public programming on the SABC and all community broadcasters.

Strategy

The Coalition adopts a "constructively critical" approach i.e. it aims to build good working relations with all the instiutions it works with but also maintains its independence to criticise. As part of its lobbying tactics the Coalition writes submissions, commissions research, engages the media, organises public meetings and where appropriate pickets and protests. 

Communications with Members

In order to keep the members of the Coalition informed about its campaign work, developments in the public broadcasting and related sectors; and relevant debates and discussions taking place within the Coalition, SOS operates two separate list serves.

SOS Debate ie Open Forum:

This list serve is not moderated and members of the Coalition are free to make any contributions. The aim of this forum is to air contentious views on points of debate and discussion within the Coalition.

SOS News ie Moderated Forum

1. This list serve is moderated by the coordinator.

2. The aim of this forum is to provide members with up to date information regarding: the Coalition’s campaign activities, developments in the sector and a summary of the key areas of debate and discussion taking place on the SOS Debate list serve.

3. Only the coordinator distributes material on this list serve although all members are invited to send him or her material at any time for consideration for inclusion and distribution on this list serve

Funders

The major funders of SOS are:  The Open Society Foundation South Africa (OSF) and the Friederich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES).

SOS also gets significant voluntary contributions from its members, particularly its working group members. SOS members and working group members volunteer their time (sometimes substantive time) to participate in SOS working group meetings and all other SOS activities including debates, workshops, writing of submissions etc. 

Organisation

TVIEC march to the SABC - 4 June 2009

(Picture: Marc Schwinges) TVIEC march to the SABC - 4 June 2009 (Picture: Marc Schwinges)

The Coalition is made up of: ordinary members (individuals and organisations), Working Group members, a Coordination Committee, and a Coordinator.

Ordinary Membership

The Coordinator keeps a membership list made up of individuals and organisations.

1. Individuals: Alert the coordinator if they wish to be part (or no longer be a part) of the Coalition. Their email address is added to/removed from the SOS-Debate Google Group and News list-serves.

2. Organisations: Alert the coordinator if they wish to be part (or no longer be a part) of the Coalition. The email address of the relevant contact person is added to/removed from the SOS-debate Google Group and SOS-News list-serves.

 

Working Group Membership

The Working Group sets the strategic direction for the Coalition and its particular campaigns from time to time.

Appointment /removal

1. The Coalition launch conference in June 2008 elected seven members to the Working Group which included individual members of the Coalition as well as representatives of member organisations.

2. Subsequently, theses members have co-opted (by consensus) other individual members of the Coalition as well as representatives of member organisations to sit on the Working Group as needed from time to time.

3. Should an individual not participate in working group activity for a period of six months, they automatically cease to be on the working group.

4. Should a representative of a member organisation not participate in working group activity for a period of six months, the member organisation is requested to replace the representative and if this is not done, the organisation ceases to be a member of the working group.

Coordination Committee

The Coordination Committee consists of the Coordinator and two other individuals to assist and generally advise the coordinator on a range of Coalition-related issues including, but not limited to, funding and financial administration issues.

Appointment /removal

The Coordinator is appointed/removed by the working group.

The other two members of the Coordination Committee are appointed/removed by the Coordinator in consultation with the Working Group.