SABC concerned by 'misleading' ANC briefing

Johannesburg - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on Tuesday evening reacted to a media briefing by ANC NEC Sub-Committee on Communications chairperson Jackson Mthembu saying it was "concerned" by some of the things Mthembu said.

In a statement by SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago, the public broadcaster said that the SABC never said that it was policy not to show violent protests.

"The SABC is however particularly concerned that some utterances made are misleading as at no point did the SABC say the decision not to broadcast the destruction of public property during the violent protests is a policy position," Kganyago said.

According to the SABC, the decision was an editorial one and not a change in policy. Kganyago added that the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa's (BCCSA) code of conduct played a role in the decision – specifically the BCCSA's clause regarding violence and hate speech.

"The decision in this context [makes it] clear that what the code seeks to do is encourage broadcasters not to glamorise violence and/or broadcast material that will encourage violence," Kganyago said.

"The editorial decision by the SABC then seems rational if judged in this context. It should be noted that the decision is not to censor any violent protests [but to] not glamorise the act of burning public property. The aftermath of the burnt property will however be shown.”

The SABC hit out at the media and public for saying that their editorial policies are illegal, saying that all the processes required by the law are being followed and that stakeholders have also been consulted.

"We have records of several civil society organisations and political parties that attended these consultation sessions. It is appalling that they have mysteriously and conveniently developed amnesia."

With regards to suggestions by some that the board and management at the organisation are not adequately qualified, Kganyago responded by saying the leadership at the SABC have all the required skills.

The chairperson of the SABC board, Prof Mbulaheni Maguvhe said that SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng should not be seen as the only person making decisions.

"It is unfortunate that the statement made by the chairperson of the sub-committee on communications of the ANC, Mr Jackson Mthembu has resulted into a personal attack that suggests that Mr Motsoeneng makes all decisions alone," Maghuve said.

"The public must be reminded of all the good achievements including the recent introduction of prioritising local content in all our platforms and many other measures to ensure that the SABC is financially sustainable."

According to Maghuve the strategies by Motsoeneng and his team have worked for the SABC and political parties simply want to derail the SABC’s mandate.

“We need to reiterate that we will not make any decisions that are aimed at censoring the news.”

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