2 August 2013
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) launched its 24-hour news channel on Thursday, kicking off its first broadcast on DStv’s channel 404 at 6pm.
DStv, Multichoice’s multi-channel African digital satellite service, was launched in 1995.
Speaking at the launch at the SABC’s studios in Johannesburg, President Jacob Zuma said the new channel would advance the constitutional right of South Africans to have diversified news.
The new channel came at the right time as the country prepared to celebrate 20 years of democracy, Zuma said, adding that he hoped it would cover more than just crime stories, and showcase what “this beautiful country has achieved in recent years”.
Communications Minister Yunus Carrim said the new channel would help to close the “information divide” in the country, while winning back viewers for the broadcaster.
While there were those who had reservations about the channel’s financial sustainability, he said that “such channels are a risk all over the world”.
He added that the broadcaster would remain independent even though it the new channel was broadcasting on pay-television.
It is envisaged that the channel will reach roughly 20-million viewers.