Cosatu ‘concern’ over SABC Mbeki ban

Cosatu is “concerned” about reports that the SABC has banned

television and radio coverage of former president Thabo Mbeki.

“Cosatu campaigned strongly against the factional manipulation of

the public broadcaster in the name of the government led by Thabo Mbeki,”

spokesperson Patrick Craven said.

 “If it is true that the same practices are now

being used against him, Cosatu will oppose them just as strongly.”

Craven said: “It is a grave threat to South Africa’s constitutional

democracy if the SABC can suppress coverage of individuals or organisations that

governments disagree with.”

According to reports SABC head of news Phil Molefe told a meeting

of senior news executives that Mbeki’s appearance on SABC television undermined

ANC leader President Jacob Zuma.

ANC headquarters had apparently instructed Molefe not to broadcast

any interviews with Mbeki or items about him.

Craven said: “The public broadcaster must reflect the diverse views

of all South Africans and never become the mouthpiece of a faction,” adding that

the federation had noted the SABC’s subsequent denial of the charge.

“Despite this denial, Cosatu is still worried, given the number of

disturbing stories of similar examples of political pressure being exerted on

SABC journalists.

Cosatu calls on the SABC board to state categorically that it will

abide by the country’s Constitution and insist that its officials open up the

airwaves to all citizens and organisations of South Africa.”


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