SOS, Media Monitoring Africa welcome Icasa ruling on SABC

2017-03-10 19:50
SABC office. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

SABC office. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Johannesburg – SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition and Media Monitoring Africa on Friday welcomed Icasa's ruling that the 2016 amendments to the SABC’s editorial policies were invalid.

"We will continue to fight for an independent and accountable national public broadcaster that serves all South Africans as mandated by the Broadcasting Act and our Constitution," they said in a joint statement.

Icasa on Thursday approved recommendations by its compliance committee to nullify the SABC’s editorial policy of 2016, which banned the airing of footage of violent protests.

On October 3, 2016, SOS and MMA filed a complaint with Icasa’s complaints and compliance committee about the SABC’s failure to comply with section 6(6) of the Broadcasting Act.  

They said the SABC board had not invited and considered public comment on the draft amendments to its editorial policies before they were approved on January 25, 2016.

The two organisations said that the recommendations provided in the parliamentary ad hoc committee’s report about the SABC added further credence to the Icasa committee’s final judgment.

"It speaks to the gross dereliction and abuse of power exercised by the SABC board," SOS and MMA said.

Icasa's decision meant the SABC needed to revert back to its 2004 editorial policy.

New interim board

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said on Thursday that the broadcaster would study Icasa's decision before deciding on its next step.

In May last year, former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng announced that the broadcaster would no longer air footage of destruction of public property during violent protests, claiming this would prevent others from doing the same.

In July, following public hearings, Icasa instructed the SABC to reverse its decision. Days later, the SABC said it would comply with the decision.

On Tuesday, the National Assembly adopted the final report by the ad hoc committee set up to investigate the SABC board’s fitness for office.

It recommends that the 2016 editorial policy be scrapped and that the current SABC board be dissolved.

On Wednesday, Parliament’s communications committee agreed on five names it would recommend to the National Assembly to constitute an interim SABC board.

Read more on:    icasa  |  sabc  |  media

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