14 December 2012

South Africa: Radio Unit to Close in 2013


It is with great sadness that Health-e's Board and management have decided to close our Radio Unit in 2013.

The Radio Unit has played a very valuable role in reporting on and de-stigmatising HIV/AIDS particularly through Khopotso Bodibe's "Living with AIDS" slot. Over 500 of these have been broadcast every Thursday morning on SABC's Safm. Khopotoso has been with Health-e for almost 11 years, and in 2006 he was joint winner (with Anso Thom) of the CNN African Journalist of the Year award for reporting on HIV/AIDS.

In addition, the Radio Unit has also produced numerous health-related stories in isiZulu and isiXhosa, particularly for SABC's Umhlobo we Nene and for the past two-and-a-half years, these were produced by radio reporter Ayanda Mkhwanazi (Yeni).

Unfortunately, the tradition of independent radio producers is not well established in South Africa, and the SABC has never seen fit to pay us for these contributions and was not willing to allow us to get company sponsorship for the slots. This has meant that the Radio Unit has had very limited options for sustainability and has to rely 100% on donor funds, which are getting harder and harder to access.

In order to survive in the current financial climate, Health-e has had to restructure and from 2013, both the Radio Unit and our Durban office will be closed, and we will be consolidating our operations in television, print, our website and the OurHealth Citizen Journalism project.

We are very grateful to our Radio Editor and Radio Reporter for their contributions to the health sector over a number of years, and to our loyal listeners.

Kerry Cullinan, Managing Editor.

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