SABC suspension alarming: FXI

2011-11-24 13:09

The suspension of two SABC radio presenters for playing an anti-Julius Malema song is disappointing, the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) said today.

During their show on Ukhozi FM last week, presenters Khathide Ngobe and Ngizwenkosi Mchunu played Izingane Zoma’s song uMalema about ANC Youth League president’s controversial conduct.

This led to their month-long suspension.

“The banning of the song by the SA Broadcasting Corporation amounts to the worst form of self-censorship and is a direct infringement on the right to artistic freedom,” the institute’s spokesperson Elston Seppie said in a statement.

“We call on the SABC to explain the basis upon which they decided not to play the song and also to provide substantive reasons for suspending the two journalists.”

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said at the weekend that the issue that led to the suspension was that Ngobe and Mchunu were not allowed to play music not on the station’s playlist.

He said their suspension had nothing to do with the way the song was politicised or its featuring of Malema’s name.

Kganyago said the song had been submitted to various radio stations two weeks ago and that the presenters played it while deliberations about it were still underway at Ukhozi FM.

Youth League secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa has threatened to fight the release of the song in court and to sue the band for defamation.

Izingane Zoma also released the song, Msholozi, which is President Jacob Zuma’s clan name, in support of his appointment to the presidency before he was elected in 2007.

Msholozi also called for corruption charges against Zuma to be dropped.

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