SABC decision 'deeply patronising' - Cosatu

2016-05-30 22:31

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Johannesburg – The SABC’s decision to stop broadcasting images of violent protests smacks of autocracy and is deeply patronising, Cosatu said on Monday.

The broadcaster was assuming South Africans were “impressionable and imbecilic citizens” who needed protection from “barbaric visuals”, the trade union federation said in a statement.

It wanted the SABC’s board to reconsider the decision and tell South African stories uncensored, warts and all.

“We are not a nanny state and therefore do not need an overprotective public broadcaster to take care of us. What we have seen and learned is that once censorship starts, it never stops because those who are empowered to censor and impose blackouts, start to develop bottomless sensitivities and discover more activities that they feel should not be flighted on television,” it said.

Cosatu said the fight against apartheid was also against censorship and news sanitisation. The SABC had to operate independently from all party political, factional and commercial interests.

“South Africans deserve to have access to all the available information including the negative stories, so that they can be empowered to reach their full potential as active citizens.” 

If the decision was not reversed, the SABC’s mandarins would manipulate news coverage and blacklist organisations, individuals and communities, Cosatu said.

The SABC needed to deepen its accountability to its audiences and to the general public, it said. 

The SABC announced last week that it had stopped television broadcasts of violent anti-government protests. It said it was doing so in a bid to discourage others from similar acts.

The public broadcaster urged other media houses to follow its decision.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  sabc  |  johannesburg  |  media  |  protests

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