The Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has frowned at SABC’s insistence to ban broadcast of public protests in the country despite order issued to them to revoke it by the authority.
Icasa said the SABC could see its license revoked if it fails to comply with its ruling on the broadcaster’s decision not to show violent protest footage.
Rubben Mohlaloga said this when questioned by 702’s John Robbie about SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s reaction to its ruling against the broadcaster.
ICASA on Monday, ordered the SABC to withdraw its decision to ban footage of violent protests and destruction of property in its news broadcasts.
The authority directed the SABC chairman Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe to confirm in writing within seven calendar days that Icasa’s order has been complied with.
However, in a reply to the request, the broadcaster said on Monday that it was prepared to go to the highest court in the land to defend its controversial editorial codes.
The SABC’s defiant stance suggests the powers that be at the broadcaster are growing even more confident of high-level political backing. The SABC is now effectively in defiance of both the ruling party and the country’s broadcast regulator.
To this, Icasa’s acting chair Mohlaloga said: ” Failure to withdraw the censorship policy could result in Icasa cautioning fining, and ultimately revoking the SABC’s broadcasting license
“Our decision is binding to all parties involved in this complaint,” Mohlaloga told Robbie. “Only a court of law can set it aside. If any of the parties are not satisfied they can approach the courts to set it aside, but otherwise it’s binding.”
“We’ve got authority over our licensees,” Mohlaloga said. “We grant licenses and we derive our authority for the prevailing legal framework.”
SABC to Take ICASA To Court
Meanwhile, SABC’s Kaizer Kganyago told the radio station on Tuesday, that the SABC would take the decision to the courts‚ echoing Motsoeneng’s vow on Monday to approach the High Court or the Constitutional Court for relief.
When asked about what would happen if the SABC took the matter to the Constitutional Court and lost, Mohlaloga replied saying:
They’ve got to comply with the decision that’s been made, if they don’t comply… [we] can consider what penalties we can impose.”
“We can only impose penalties that the law allows us to impose,” he said. “These would range from giving a caution, depending on the merit of the case, it would be a fine. In extreme cases a license could be suspended or revoked.”
The Icasa ruling follows weeks of protests outside the SABC’s Auckland Park headquarters, where people called for the suspension of senior editorial staff to be lifted unconditionally, and for the disciplinary processes against them scrapped.