JOHANNESBURG, June 1 (ANA) – The South African Communist Party (SACP) on Wednesday expressed its disapproval of the decision by the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) to censor content displaying violent service delivery protests.
“All the evil and good must be captured by the media. Coverage must not be restricted,” national spokesperson of the SACP, Alex Mashilo, said in a media briefing in Johannesburg.
“Let people make their choices.”
Last week, the public broadcaster announced that it would not show footage in its news bulletins of violent service delivery protests in which people burned public infrastructure such as schools and libraries.
Mashilo said people were not homogenous thinkers, adding that the SABC’s decision was intellectually bankrupt as it undermined the intellect of the citizens of the country.
He said the SACP would not allow the SABC to be a law unto itself, and that the public broadcaster must not conceal information from the public.
“We are not against any protest but we do condemn violence and anarchy.”
Sekoetlane Phamodi, the national coordinate of Save Our SABC (SOS) coalition, said they firmly stood behind the SACP because the broadcaster had finalized and was implementing its revised editorial policies without having completed the public participation process it had set out.
He said that in January 2014 the SABC’s general manager of editorial policy, Graham Welch, assured the people of South Africa that the revised policies would be released for public comment.
Phamodi said Welch had promised that any changes that would emerge as a result of that round of engagements would be incorporated into the revised policies that would then follow the appropriate approval process before implementation.
The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) has written to the SABC to urge it to review this decision which commentators and analysts see as one of the ways to protect the ruling party ahead of the August 3 local government elections.
The decision by the SABC to ban coverage of violent protests from their channels has however found favour with Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.
– African News Agency (ANA)
Disclaimer: This story is pulled directly from the African News Agency wire, and has not been edited by Mail & Guardian staff. The M&G does not accept responsibility for errors in any statement, quote or extract that may be contained therein.