SABC NEVER SAID IT WILL CENSOR PROTESTS

2016-05-29 10:07

Again I've noticed inaccurate media reports & inaccurate statements from opposition parties last week about the SABC matter. This blog post is just to provide clarity on the matter. The SABC never said it'll stop broadcasting protests. The service delivery protests, student protests etc will continue being televised but what won't be televised is the burning of infrastructure during protests. In other words, if you call a protest & you start burning property, that protest WILL be televised but the property burning in the protest won't be shown to the public.

This is in line with encouraging protests that are conducted within the framework of the law, something that universities & government have been encouraging for too long. Repeatedly they would release statements saying "we respect the democratic right of everyone protesting but that cannot be escalated to the level of the destruction of property". In fact, conducting a protest within the framework of the law is revolutionary discipline.

I have seen protests being conducted genuinely but the problem being that the protest is not "receiving media attention". Therefore, to receive "media attention" you find people doing the illegal, which is to burn down property.

The end result then becomes that the primary message of what the protest was organised for becoming secondary and the costs of the destruction primary. Others in KZN whom see that a protest in Limpopo got "media attention" because there was property burning also begin to emulate the destructive example in order to receive a likewise coverage. It cannot be in 2016.

What is sad about the burning of property is that its property of the public that is highly needed by others. People would burn a clinic because they want a school - a direct violation of the rights of others and a devastating reversal on service delivery achieved by government under difficult administrative and fiscal constraints.

So in my opinion I see this as responsible journalism targeting the noble cause of informing the public accurately and building a nation. Furthermore, it is a challenge to authority to now begin to listen to the demands of the people and respond to them quickly and effectively to avoid the escalation of engagement to violence.

So the debate is about that, not about censorship. This is far from being called censorship and that word is very misleading.

PEDRO MZILENI

29 MAY 2016

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