Activists have called on the public who patronize SABC TV adverts to desist from it so as to hit the broadcaster where it hurts.
The activists made the call when they met yesterday to plan protests that will carry on from tomorrow to Friday.
“Hlaudi will lose in the court of public opinion,” said Right2Know member Dale McKinley.
“We should be shaming companies that choose to advertise on the SABC,” said Julie Reid, another member of Right2Know. “That is where it will hit the SABC hardest.”
Criticisms are getting stronger for SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s censorship of news coverage on SABC TV programmes.
Activists have convened to make plans on how to picket outside the public broadcaster’s building in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Rights groups also will also extend the protest to the ANC offices in Johannesburg.
Yesterday, former SABC TV news editors and board members wrote to President Jacob Zuma, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and Mbulaheni Maguvhe, chairman of the SABC board, complaining that “news is censored and editorial decisions are dictated”.
“We express grave concern that the SABC has deviated from the clear principles of good broadcasting that were laid down during transformation.”
The Brigalia Bam, former deputy chairman of the SABC board; Allister Sparks, former board member and editor-in-chief of TV news; and former deputy CEO of the SABC Govin Reddy appeared as signatories to the letter.
“The state of fear under which SABC employees are working is not conducive to good journalism or programming,” they said.
This can be linked to the suspension of at least seven journalists for questioning decisions of the SABC boss on coverage.
The latest is Journalist Lukhanyo Calata, got suspended after writing: “The decisions taken recently by the SABC cannot be described in any other way but as being a curbing of media freedom. A freedom to report ethically, truthfully and without bias.”
Activists including Right2Know, the Save Our SABC Coalition, the Media Workers’ Association of SA and other activists plan to continue protesting against Motsoeneng, whom they called a “petty tyrant”.
As the Independent Communications Authority of SA rules on whether the SABC’s ban on footage of property destruction in service delivery protests is lawful, the activists will picket outside.