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SABC to review policies‚ calls for public participation

13 July 2017 - 14:46 By Neo Goba
SABC in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. File photo.
SABC in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. File photo.
Image: Waldo Swiegers. (C) Sunday Times.

The South African Broadcasting Cooperation has called on the public to participate in reviewing six policies which have been implemented since 2004.

This comes as the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) approved recommendations to nullify the SABC’s editorial policies of 2016‚ which banned the airing of footage of violent protests.

This decision meant the SABC needed to revert back to its 2004 editorial policy.

"We are today launching the review project of the SABC’s editorial policies. The process of the policies is to resuscitate the consultation process with the public following the ICASA's complaints and compliance committee that the SABC had not complied with the requirement of Section 6 of the Broadcasting Act of 1999‚" said SABC interim chairperson Khanyisile Khweyama.

These six policies are: news editorial‚ programming‚ local content‚ language‚ religion‚ and universal service.

The chairperson said all nine provinces would be visited in order to afford communities an opportunity to contribute through oral and written submissions.

The public will be informed about the schedules and venues of the hearings through radio stations and the deadline for the submissions is August 31.

Khweyama said all inputs received from the public will be consolidated and will inform a revised Editorial Code and Policies document‚ which will then be released for public comment before being finalised.

In May last year‚ controversial former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng announced that the state owned entity would no longer air footage of destruction of public property during violent protests‚ claiming this would prevent others from doing the same.

ICASA then instructed the SABC to reverse its decision in July following a complaint lodged in October 2016 by the SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition and Media Monitoring Africa.

Motsoeneng has since been found guilty after facing disciplinary charges over a media conference he held in April at which he criticised the interim SABC board for planning to scrap the 90% local music policy he had set up.

Khweyama said the board would still continue to scrap the 90% local music policy that Motsoeneng had implemented regardless of the public participation outcomes.

Motsoeneng was replaced at the SABC after a damning Parliamentary ad hoc committee report found that the previous board had mismanaged the public broadcaster‚ leading to the loss of hundreds of millions of rand.

- TimesLIVE