Numsa members join SABC protest

2014-05-02 18:43

Members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) joined a protest for media freedom outside the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) head office in Auckland Park ahead of World Press Freedom Day tomorrow.

Protesters, including supporters of the Right2Know campaign, held a lackluster picket in the midday heat, holding placards reading: “Phansi [down with] political censorship at the SABC.”

“While we are celebrating press freedom, we are raising cautions about the threats to those freedoms and particularly in terms of our public broadcaster,” said Dale McKinley, spokesperson for the Right2Know campaign.

The protesters believe a diversity of views are not being projected.

The picket comes after the SABC had banned TV adverts by the DA and EFF.

No memorandum was handed over as Right2Know said it was its third visit to the SABC and the broadcaster was aware of its demands.

“The right to know and the right to access of information cannot be realised without a free press. The SABC is becoming a megaphone for Luthuli House and the ANC,” said Dinga Sikwebu, national education coordinator of Numsa.

“For instance, yesterday was May Day, who did they show on TV? All the ANC leaders, it’s supposed to be a workers’ day, it’s not meant to be for Cyril [Ramaphosa], for [Jacob] Zuma, for Baleka Mbete, and all of that,” said Sikwebu.

Read: ‘Support ANC or be silent on Workers’ Day’

“Therefore our stories as workers must be reflected in the media, which is not happening at the moment and therefore we feel on a principal basis that we do need to be here,” he said.

Eunice Manzini, chairperson of the Voices of the Poor Concerned Residents, said: “SABC must be a community broadcaster not just for the rich, publishing useless things like Bold and the Beautiful.”

The SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition was also part of the protest action.

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