SABC objects to DA gripe

2010-10-08 23:01
Cape Town - The SABC said on Friday that the DA’s accusation that it refused to broadcast a positive story about it as part of a policy to promote the ANC was tantamount to interfering with the editorial independence of the public broadcaster.

The story in question was a media conference on Thursday where the Democratic Alliance announced that 13 out of the 14 municipalities under its control in South Africa had spent their full infrastructure grant for the 2009/10 financial year.

"This was a significant and noteworthy achievement and demonstrated that, where the DA governs, service delivery is of a high standard," party spokesperson Gareth van Onselen said.

"And yet the SABC, despite being at the media conference, failed in its television and radio bulletins to mention the DA's performance, which was the very purpose behind the media conference."

Van Onselen said an SABC 3 bulletin simply portrayed the DA as criticising the poor performance of the ruling party. Another, on SABC 2, excluded all reference to the DA.

"In short, the SABC suppressed that information which put the DA in a favourable light.

“The only plausible reason can be that it was acting to protect the interests of the ANC."

Van Onselen said all other news organisations that carried the story accurately reflected the DA's claims.


SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the DA was free to take the matter to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA), but their complaint seemed to indicate they wanted to dictate to the SABC.

"I find it very strange that the DA can say that. It looks to me as though they want to interfere with our editorial independence. Which is what they accuse the ANC of doing.

“They are now saying they want us to cover the story this way.

"We have said it very clearly - we don't take any interference from anyone, including them.

“If they have any complaints they have the BCCSA where they have an open to platform to complain."

The DA has repeatedly accused the SABC of displaying a bias towards the ruling party.

DA leader Helen Zille in August said the public broadcaster had been turned into an ANC mouthpiece by the Zuma administration, in line with a resolution taken at the party's Polokwane conference that the SABC should show local content reflecting ANC values.

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