The censorship must stop

2016-07-07 06:00

THE strategic appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operating officer of the SABC in the midst of his qualification debacle is reason to believe that political expediency is the motivating factor to retain him.

Even the public protector has ruled on this issue but the recommendations were once again ignored.

Over the past two months, the public broadcaster has been embroiled in unconstitutional pronouncements aimed at compromising and more importantly censoring information intended for public consumption.

This type of censorship is being equated to apartheid-style tactics, and many commentators see it as a reminder of the dark days of subjugation and oppression.

A free press is the lifeblood of the nation. Stopping and interfering with the free flow of information is like restricting blood flow, causing gangrene and inevitably leading to capitulation of a free and fair public broadcaster.

It seems that South Africa is moving with speed in this direction.

The violent protests and destruction and damage to public institutions that flashed across our television screens and featured in newspapers are indicative of rising public anger. The advent of social media makes censoring repression and rebellion in SA almost impossible.

Ultimately, the SABC belongs to the people and not a specific political party. The public broadcaster must be able to report news without fear or favour.

Journalists must be able to report freely on stories without being threatened, and must not be instructed by senior management not to carry certain stories. This corrosive atmosphere within the SABC needs to be mediated on with urgency.

The present editorial policy decisions based on censorship will harm South Africa’s image in Africa and abroad.

VIJAY SURUJPAL

Phoenix

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