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Sat Dec 20 15:38:42 CAT 2014

SABC moves to take control of talk show content

Sapa | 12 December, 2012 11:48
Screen static. File photo.
Image by: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

The SABC has allocated the editorial control of all talk shows dealing with politics and governance to news and current affairs.

"This decision will help the SABC to deliver on the requirements of the editorial policy," spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said in a statement.

According to the broadcaster's editorial policy, which is guided by the Broadcasting Act: "When an event of national importance is of a party political nature, editorial staff are to ensure that the SABC policies on objectivity, accuracy, fairness, impartiality and balance are adhered to".

SABC acting chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng said this decision would allow a "centralised way" of dealing with issues of a political nature in a "coherent and systematic way" and in line with the editorial policy.

Kganyago said this would go a long way in assisting the organisation to be accountable to the public.

On Monday, the Times reported that an anonymous letter purportedly written by SABC reporters, producers and presenters, indicated concerns of political interference at the corporation.

In the letter there were complaints that journalists were "taken to task" for not giving adequate coverage to President Jacob Zuma.

The letter was unsigned, apparently because the authors feared they would be victimised, and was addressed to the SABC board and acting news head Jimi Mathews.

"The climate of uncertainty and fear has created a state of paranoia in both the television and radio news rooms and has lowered morale," the letter reads, according to the publication.

It also contained allegations that some programmes were cancelled after the content was announced on air, and when talk show guests had already arrived.

Political journalists were allegedly removed from their posts and analysts from their regular shows without explanation.

There were also complaints that stories about expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema were "treated differently".

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