SABC defended for no longer showing violent protest


The African National Congress (ANC) has reportedly denied claims that the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s decision to no longer show violent protests amounts to censorship.

Over the weekend, political parties and rights groups took aim at the public broadcaster after its controversial Chief Operations Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, announced on Friday it would no longer show acts of property being destroyed as it “does not want to assist individuals seeking media attention”.

He stated that broadcasting such events would encourage other residents to follow similar actions, and that it disrupts the lives of those affected.

“What the SABC has done has opened up a debate. Media houses must welcome that debate of what is the role of media in the context of nation building. I don’t think we must look at it as censorship… we must not look at it negatively,” ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa told News24.

Opposition parties have however slammed the decision with the Democratic Alliance (DA) saying it would consider legal action, and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) labelling it has having no logic.

“When you do not show what has happened, you tell incomplete news and no one ever understands the extent of the frustration and damage that would have occurred,” EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi told News24.

The Right2Know movement has also criticised the move as unjustifiable and against the SABC’s mandate of broadcasting the reality of everyday life in South Africa.

“Airbrushing our community struggles will not make them disappear but will remove liability from those who should be held accountable for poor service delivery”, the movement said in a statement.

“Statement by Hlaudi Motsoeneng that this is done “to educate the citizens” is flawed. [He] must not treat the SABC as a private entity to please those who are in power. The SABC must promote freedom of expression by broadcasting all community news without being biased to the ruling party especially around the upcoming local government elections”.