Icasa to hear complaint about SABC’s protest footage blackout

24 June 2016 - 11:21 By TMG Digital

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is set to picket outside the offices of the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) ahead of the hearing of a complaint about censorship at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). It was laid against the state broadcaster in May by the Media Monitoring Africa (MMA)‚ supported by the SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition and the Freedom of Expression Institute‚ over the SABC’s decision to ban coverage of violent protests.“The DA is committed to restoring the integrity and independence of the SABC that should not act to censor communication just because they do not like how it reflects on the African National Congress’ poor leadership‚” said the party’s Phumzile van Damme.“As such we hope Icasa will rule independently in the benefit of the public and put an end to this irregular behaviour once and for all.”MMA argues that the decision to ban the broadcasting of violent protests was unlawful and in clear violation of the Broadcasting Act‚ the SABC’s licence conditions and its revised editorial policies.The organisation also argues that the decision constituted blatant censorship by the broadcaster‚ more so in the run-up to the August local government elections.In an affidavit responding to the complaint‚ acting CEO Jimi Matthews said the SABC was prohibited from broadcasting any material which judged within the context contains gratuitous violence in terms of the Constitution‚ the Broadcasting Act and the code under which it operates.He also said that the public broadcaster had the responsibility not to expose its journalists and photographers to “dangers of being hit by stray bullet blows and/or affected by violent actions of protesters as has happened before”. TMG Digital

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