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South Africa: Jozi FM in turmoil over who controls the station

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has called for an emergency meeting on Monday, 1 October 2007, with the parties involved in the Sowetan community radio station Jozi FM crisis. Recently, Jozi FM has been embroiled in a controversy over control of the radio station by various groups, challenging the legitimacy of the current management and the board.

ICASA held separate meetings with a group of residents calling itself the "Task Team" on 25 September 2007 and later with the management and board of Jozi FM on 26 September so as to appraise itself of the issues and to hear "both sides of the story" in the dispute. The authority has also sought the participation of the National Community Radio Forum (NCRF) as a facilitator in resolving the dispute surrounding the radio station.

The dispute resolution process, to be overseen by ICASA, seeks to be consultative and will culminate in the holding of an AGM of the radio station. The NCRF, as an association of community radio stations, is expected to play a critical role in assisting Jozi FM and the Soweto community in arriving at a sustainable solution.

The 1 October meeting comes in the wake of negative media publicity surrounding the Soweto radio station in the past weeks, and a subsequent picket by members of the "Task Team" at ICASA's head office in Sandton.

(Biz-Community (Cape Town), 28 September 2007)

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