DA claims SABC still delaying election adverts

CAPE TOWN, June 3 (ANA) – The Democratic Alliance on Friday accused the SABC of deliberately further delaying its election campaign advertisements after a week of negotiations between the official opposition and the public broadcaster.

“They finally agreed to broadcast the ads on Monday but it seems the issue is still not resolved because they are making us jump through more hoops,” DA MP and communications spokeswoman Phumzile van Damme said.

She said after an agreement was reached, the SABC alerted the DA that it could not open video files containing the advertisements. Once this issue was resolved, the SABC then asked the party to add a disclaimer stating that the viewing material constituted political advertising.

Van Damme said in the past the SABC had added the disclaimer itself, and the DA suspected that the public broadcaster was trying to prevent the party having a headstart in terms of campaign advertising over the ANC ahead of the August 3 municipal elections.

“It seems they are trying to hold back our adverts because the ANC is not yet ready with theirs. Why I don’t know because they knew the election date.”

The DA on Monday laid a formal complaint with the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) over its failure to broadcast an advertisement in which the party claims that the poor are better serviced in areas under its political control.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago countered that the complaint was spurious, saying the broadcaster needed to receive confirmation of party registration for all those contesting the vote before it could air their material.
This, he said, applied to paid advertisements, like those in question, as well as a separate category used in allocated campaign time slots.

He said the relevant information was, however, finally received on Monday, and therefore material could be aired the customary five days after receipt. Kganyago could not be reached for further comment on Friday.

The SABC has in the past week come under heavy criticism from opposition parties and rights groups over a decision to stop airing footage from violent protests, with the Right2Know campaign likening this to apartheid-era censorship.

– 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.

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