DA heads to court over congress coverage

BY CHARL BOSCH - MAY 8, 2015

Democratic Alliance (DA) National Spokesperson, Phumzile van Damme, has confirmed the filing of court papers in the South Gauteng High Court against the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) failure to provide coverage of the party’s elective conference in Port Elizabeth on Saturday and Sunday.

Speaking in a statement, van Damme described the public broadcaster’s decision as “irrational and unreasonable”, adding that the withdrawal violates the SABC’s editorial policy.

“It is manifestly in the public interest that a national elective congress of the Official Opposition in South Africa, representing over four million voters, receives coverage by the National Public Broadcaster,” van Damme said.

“The SABC has, without fail, covered the ANC’s major national events, including extensive live broadcasts of elective and policy conferences, birthday celebrations and lectures. The National Public Broadcaster must act with political impartiality and must not display bias in its live coverage decisions.”

SABC Spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago, has meanwhile accused the party of wanting to “dictate the SABC” having earlier stated that live coverage of the conference would be shown on the broadcaster’s 24-hour news channel on DSTV and not on SABC2 as the party claimed.

“The long and short end of it is the fact that we have promised them and we will stick to the promise that we have given them that we will broadcast to congress live.

“We will do so on channel 404, which is our news channel and we are not going to be doing it on SABC2. Therefore we do not understand where they got it that we will do it on SABC2,” the broadcaster quoted Kganyago as saying.