Icasa to make ruling on SABC censorship

2016-07-07 10:32
Supporters chanting 'Hlaudi Must Fall!' outside the SABC headquarters in Johannesburg  (Mpho Raborife, News24)

Supporters chanting 'Hlaudi Must Fall!' outside the SABC headquarters in Johannesburg (Mpho Raborife, News24)

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Johannesburg - Icasa will on Thursday make a decision on the complaints about the SABC’s decision to ban coverage of violent protests.

"The council of Icasa is meeting today to discuss the recommendations of the complaints and compliance committee," Independent Communications Authority of SA spokesperson Paseka Maleka said.

"The council is going to deliberate and decide what is going to happen from here."

The decision would be communicated to the public, either later on Thursday or Friday morning.

On June 24, Icasa held a public hearing into SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s decision to no longer show the destruction of property during protests.

Opposition parties and media groups criticised Motsoeneng’s decision, which he announced in May. He argued that showing such footage would encourage others to do the same.

During the hearings, Bantubonke Tokota SC, representing the public broadcaster, told the committee that protesters often got excited when they saw cameras recording them. Airing such footage would incite violence, which was against the Constitution, he said.

He was unable to provide any empirical evidence to back up Motsoeneng’s claim and said the broadcaster had not had enough time to collect it.

Tokota said the SABC would still report on protests, but only air footage of the aftermath of any violence, not the destruction.

Gilbert Marcus, SC, representing the complainants Media Monitoring Africa, Save Our SABC Coalition and the Freedom of Expression Institute, told the hearing that the SABC’s argument was flawed.

"They cannot source this power to impose this blanket ban in the Constitution. It has to be sourced in law and he has failed to provide anything which would lawfully entitle such a decision," Marcus said at the time.

He said the SABC’s job was to provide context to the events on which it reported.

Marcus asked the committee to find that the SABC had breached its obligation to provide honest and accurate information to its viewers.

Read more on:    icasa  |  sabc  |  media

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