News24

Icasa ordered to probe SABC

2011-01-25 22:41

Johannesburg - The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has ordered that Icasa relaunch a probe into alleged political interference at the SABC in 2006, the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) said on Tuesday.

"The decision of the complaints and compliance committee (CCC) of the Independent Communication Authority of SA (Icasa) on June 18  2009, dismissing the applicant's complaints against the SABC, is reviewed," Judge CJ Claassen found on Monday.

He was handing down judgment in the matter relating to the SABC’s alleged blacklisting of political commentators in February 2007.

"The matter is referred back to the CCC to determine the complaints afresh."

Icasa was also ordered to pay the FXI's costs, including that of two counsel.

In June 2006, then-SABC CEO Dali Mpofu instituted an inquiry into whether there were limitations in the news and current affairs division on the use of analysts, commentators and experts by the former general executive of news and current affairs, Snuki Zikalala, following media reports and a statement by then SAFM presenter John Perlman.

The FXI laid a complaint with Icasa alleging that, by excluding certain commentators, the actions of Zikalala had violated the Broadcasting Act's requirement for its public services to provide independent and unbiased news and current affairs programming.

Icasa dismissed the application and also ruled that the evidence contained in the record, which the SABC considered an internal document, was inadmissible in future proceedings at Icasa.

Politically motivated manipulation

In his judgment Claassen said that Zikalala's "politically motivated manipulation" of the SABC's news coverage of the 2008 Zimbabwe elections had violated the broadcaster's duty to meet the highest standards of journalistic professionalism and provide fair, unbiased, impartial and balanced coverage.

"We respect the decision of the court," Icasa spokesperson Jubie Matlou said adding: "Our organisation is subject to the review of the court.

"We will comment further once we receive the judgment."

The FXI welcomed the decision as it affirmed Icasa's authority to monitor compliance by the SABC to its legislative charter.

"This authority, that the regulator was quick to surrender, has now been reaffirmed by the court following an FXI legal challenge to Icasa’s assertion that it could not decide on a complaint about the alleged blacklisting of political commentators as this would infringe on the editorial independence of the SABC," FXI co-ordinator Jayshree Pather said.

The judgment, she said, demonstrated that "Dr Zikalala’s politically motivated blacklisting" of certain political commentators and the SABC's dishonesty in the attempted cover-up were clear violations of statutory requirements.

Comments
  • Tc - 2011-01-25 23:19

    Why 2006 - You can pick any date!

      BigD - 2011-01-26 06:26

      Too true

  • duncan - 2011-01-26 01:54

    Another commission, another billion for friends and relatives and we'll wait 5 years for the result.

  • ArtGee - 2011-01-26 06:06

    SABC = ANC COmmunications Dept

      Douglas Hendry - 2011-01-26 08:38

      I worked at the SABC/SAUK for almost 20 years, a rooinek in an organisatio dominated by the Afrikaans Government and it's dark, hidden, organisations. It too was a Goverment mouthpiece. I saw things which we had filmed, but which were never broadcast, as they were too sensitive. Thank goodness I always had the BBC World service to give me unbiased news.

      Valkerie - 2011-01-26 09:24

      @ Douglas, thank goodness there are some folks who still remember the "good old days" as not so good after all! Some think that the previous government are spotless in their dealings, but this is simply not true. Just a pity that the current government is taking their lessons from the very people that they swore to overthrow! Ironic, not?

  • khulumasizwe - 2011-01-26 07:28

    I said it before that Mbeki was using the media especially the sabc, all the wrongdoing in his era is haunting him now. I am not surprise as the left is using all its powers to discredit Mbeki by exposing his corrupt acts which were covered and protected by judges, courts, etc. well done Zuma and his team but remember that when your time in office expires your corrupt acts will also be exposed, the wheel just turns. Big question is that what happen to comrade Snuki Zikalala for his wrong doing surely he deserve to be punished for his corrupt acts as-well. Its useless to tell us that Snuki was using his powers to protect the anc but nothing happens to him, it would have been better not to tell us that it was Snuki then...

      ArtGee - 2011-01-26 07:54

      Snuki is the SPOKESPERSON for COPE.... ROFLMAO!!!!

      Totman - 2011-01-26 10:45

      I agree with you. Their problems came from as far as the apartheid times and still continue. Two different governments. Same way of ruling. Do we still need a national Broadcaster? The private media is doing more to get us to the golden middelway than the SABC. SABC only make us doubting them. Make us angry and waist our tax monies. I still have a bit of pride in having a National Broadcaster, but at what cost? I know the poor can't afford the private media cost, but there should be a way to resolve this.

  • Will99 - 2011-01-26 07:32

    Nothing new, another no find

  • Julia - 2011-01-26 08:24

    How do you cover your own corruption?? Exopse anothers corruption - you then look like the good guy. The South Afican B*llsh*tters Corporation has been and always will be a tool of whatever party is in power.

  • AndV - 2011-01-26 08:25

    They are all so corrupt that they actually think they are above the law. This shows that even the institutions like ICASA that is supposed to protect and inforce legislation are all a bunch of incompotent lacays appointed not for their competancy but allegance to the ANC. You tell me this is any beter than in the apartheid years? It is far more rotten and disgracefull than ever. These people, including the responsible people at ICASA dismissing the cmplaint previously, should be bring to book. They must be exposed and carry the consequences of their actions. Will probably never happen,as we have become custom to. Shame on you all!!

  • Julia - 2011-01-26 08:31

    Ai,Ai,Zikalala did not act alone. As long as the ruling party (no matter which party)appoints the board, how can the SABC meet the highest standards of journalistic professionalism and provide fair, unbiased, impartial and balanced coverage.

  • Ixian - 2011-01-26 08:44

    Privatise the SABC and abolish TV licences. Make them work for their revenue just like any other TV station. This poorly run organisation is a disgrace to viewers who have no other choice but to watch their poor program schedule. If eTv had less wresting programs I would consider tuning in to their channel more often.

  • Ixian - 2011-01-26 08:46

    Privatise the SABC and abolish TV licences. Make them work for their revenue just like any other TV station. This poorly run organisation is a disgrace to viewers who have no other choice but to watch their poor program schedule. If eTv had less wresting programs I would consider tuning in to their channel more often.

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