SABC censors Malema - staffer

2012-09-13 14:18
Julius Malema (File, AP)

Julius Malema (File, AP)

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Johannesburg - SABC bosses have banned any mention of expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema in news broadcasts, a staff member claimed.

The issue has been simmering for a while and the latest order was given on Wednesday, the SABC radio news editor, who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed to News24.

"There is a huge censorship crisis going on, and news editors here are extremely unhappy about this but are too scared to speak out in case they are suspended," the staff member said.

"The directive obviously came from the SABC CEO [Lulama Mokhobo], she suspended Phil Molefe [chief executive of news] a few months ago over coverage given to Malema," he said. The order was communicated verbally so there would be no official trace of it.

Previously, all mentions of Malema had to be vetted by the political editor, he claimed.

"This is absolutely ridiculous. If he makes news, you have to reflect that, especially with the mine unrest. They want him to go away, which is total censorship, and totally against the editorial code and directive of the SABC," the staff member said.

"This is worse than the apartheid SABC."

SABC denial

However, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago categorically denied there was such a directive.

"I can safely say it's not true," he told News24 on Thursday.

"I don't know why people are so caught up on individuals. We don't report on individuals, we report on news and issues."

When asked whether Malema was edited out of clips on news bulletins, and about coverage Malema received during his address to suspended soldiers in Lenasia on Wednesday, he reiterated that the SABC "reports on issues, not people".

Kganyago dismissed claims of editorial interference and political bias doing the rounds on social media channels such as Twitter, saying these claims were the result of "baseless rumours".

This comes after the Friends of the Youth League claimed that an interview with Julius Malema on SABC's Metro FM on Tuesday was cancelled.

"The SABC has been reduced into a Zuma broadcasting corporation, only focusing on what [President] Jacob Zuma does and says," said suspended ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said.

Malema was later interviewed on CNN by Christiane Amanpour.

The Mail & Guardian reported last week that SABC bosses had effectively banned Malema from radio and television news by editing out Malema clips, following an instruction from ANC leaders aligned to the campaign to have Zuma re-elected in Mangaung in December.
Read more on:    anc  |  ancyl  |  sabc  |  julius malema  |  lulama mokhobo  |  media  |  politics

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