SABC to ‘manage’ govt news

2012-12-13 00:00

SENIOR managers at the SABC are uncertain how a new policy to centralise all political news and commentary will affect programming.

The SABC decided late on Tuesday night that all political and government related content on the broadcaster’s radio stations must be placed under the control of news and current affairs.

Jimi Matthews is the acting head of news and current affairs at the SABC. In a statement yesterday the public broadcaster said that from Tuesday, the editorial direction and control of all talk shows covering politics and management of all the radio stations of the SABC would be done by news and current affairs.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng, SABC’s acting chief operations officer, said after the statement, the decision would help the broadcaster to put in place a centralised management system to report on political and government issues on a cohesive and systematic manner, in keeping with the editorial policy.

There are, however, parties who are uncertain and unhappy with the impact the decision would have on talk shows and call-in programmes.

One said it would amount to nothing less than interference.

Other managers at the SABC are, however, unfazed at the announcement. They reckon their work would not be affected by the announcement, as similar prescription in the past did not impact on them.

A source at the SABC said commercial radio stations like MetroFM, where the radio hosts are radio personalities and not politicians, would feel that they were being undermined.

The Democratic Alliance described the SABC’s decision as a “dictatorial attempt” by Motsoeneng to turn the message so that it suits his masters.

Marian Shinn, DA MP and spokesperson on communication, said Motsoeneng had to treat South Africans as adults who could think for themselves.

Cope’s spokesperson on communications, Juli Kilian, said the announcement showed Motsoeneng was a “political lackey of Zuma and Luthuli House”.

Sam Mkokeli, political editor of Business Day, described the SABC’s decision as “political gatekeeping”.

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