SABC out to damage DA campaign by not showing ad – Helen Zille

2014-04-30 15:26

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Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille has threatened legal action against the SABC if the public broadcaster fails to flight her party’s advert tonight.

Zille told journalists in Milpark, Joburg, today that the DA had received an e-mail from the SABC’s head of broadcast compliance, Fakir Hassen, saying the public broadcaster would not allow the advert to be flighted as its opening line was false.

The opening line of the 46-second advert, which has received more than 47 000 hits on YouTube, says: “So they tried to silence us ...”

“This is censorship pure and simple. There is absolutely no rational or legal basis on which to prevent this ad from airing,” Zille said.

“The SABC’s intent is clear – they wish to seriously damage the DA’s election campaign in this crucial week of the election. We will not let this stand,” she said.

The DA had already contacted the SABC’s lawyers informing them that no reasons for the ban “would stand up in court”, Zille said.

However, she also revealed that SABC acting COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng had subsequently phoned her, saying he did not understand why the advert could not be flighted.

“But all we have in writing is the decision not to flight this ad,” she said.

She said it was “extraordinary” that Motsoeneng vetted editorial and commercial content.

“It’s very worrying that whether or not something appears on television is up to the personal discretion of one individual and not determined by the Constitution and the law.

“It’s even more bizarre that the one person at the SABC who has the mandate to vet adverts can ban an ad and be overruled by Hlaudi Motsoeneng. It has given us a very interesting and disturbing insight into how things work at the SABC,” Zille said.

Motsoeneng came under fire yesterday when supporters of Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters marched against the SABC’s decision to ban that party’s election advert. Malema accused Motsoeneng of being an ANC puppet and of doing President Jacob Zuma’s bidding.

Read: Zuma will dump you like a used condom, Malema warns Hlaudi

This is the second DA election advert the SABC has slapped with a ban. The ban of the first advert was reversed after communications regulator Icasa ruled in the DA’s favour.

Zille said her party would continue to prepare for an urgent court interdict while it was waiting for SABC2 to air the advert at 9pm.

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