SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng has refused to heed ICASA’s order to drop its ban on covering violent protestes. He said the broadcaster’s policy will not be influenced by anyone, externally or internally.
Motsoeneng said this while speaking at a press conference following a decision by Icasa to order the SABC to reverse its policy not to show violent protests on the group’s stations.
The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) had earlier ruled on Monday that the SABC must withdraw its decision not to broadcast violent service delivery protests.
Icasa took this decision after Media Monitoring Africa, the Freedom of Expression Institute and other organisations reported SABC to them following its chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s announcement in May that it would no longer broadcast violent protests to promote “responsible journalism” – a decision widely slammed as censorship.
To this, Icasa ordered the broadcasting corporation to reverse its decision within the space of seven days.
However, Motsoeneng insisted that no one will tell him what to do. He added that there was a “hullabaloo” over the concept of censorship, and that everyone was interpreting the SABC’s policies incorrectly.
He said that newsrooms at all media houses and publications engaged in some form of “censorship”, and that the SABC’s policy was no different. It dismissed that it was ‘blanket-banning’ visuals, but rather “putting a veil over the footage”.
The COO claimed that it was the SABC which broke the news of the Tshwane protests – one of the main points of contention that brought the policy into the spotlight.
No Going Back On SABC Policy
The SABC COO reiterated that the corporation would still cover violent protests – but only the aftermath, with no live coverage as public property was being destroyed.
He assured that he would take the matter on review, but that it would not withdraw the policy as ordered by Icasa. He said that the SABC will challenge Icasa’s ruling, taking the matter to the Constitutional Court if needs be.