Ricochet News

SABC presenting “sanitised news” by banning violent protests - Sanef

By Charl Bosch - May 31, 2016
SABC presenting “sanitised news” by banning violent protests - Sanef

The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) has described the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s decision to longer air violent protest as “shocking”, and further evident that it is becoming a state mouthpiece similar to what it was during Apartheid.

Last Friday, controversial SABC Chief Operations Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, announced that the public broadcaster would no longer show the destruction of property on television, as it “does not want to assist individuals seeking media attention”.

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

Speaking in a statement, Sanef Chairperson Mpumelelo Mkhabela said the move amounted to nothing but censorship and an attempt by the SABC to “present sanitised news to the South African public”.

“Whilst it is every media house’s prerogative to formulate editorial policy about what to publish or broadcast, such policy, in line with the public mandate of media, has to be in the public interest,” Mkhabela said.

“No right thinking person would support the destruction of public facilities in the name of protest, but reporting on such acts in their fullest possible way by the media allows South Africans to know what is happening. However the stand taken by the SABC amounts to censorship and must be condemned”.

Mkhabela said Sanef has expressed its concern regarding the matter to Acting SABC Group CEO Jimi Matthews, and that it reaffirms its displeasure for the rule to be implemented.

The decision has also been slammed by political parties and rights movements but defend by government with Communications Minister Faith Muthambi stating that the move “will go a long way to discourage attention-seeking anarchists”.