After the public broadcaster decided to ban the footage of violent protests and the destruction of properties, there has been growing pressure from various interest groups that say the move has threatened media freedom and will take the public broadcaster back to the Apartheid era of becoming a state broadcaster.
Recently, the Right to Know (R2K) and Save Our SABC (SOS) coalition led a march and demonstrated outside the ANC headquarters at Luthuli House demanding a political intervention in what they call the ‘systematic interference’ at the public broadcaster. With municipal elections around the corner they said they could not have a public broadcaster that is compromised and speaks on behalf of a faction of the ruling party.
They accused the ANC of not having a concrete plan to force the SABC to reverse the situation of crisis. The Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has since ruled against the SABC boss, Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
“If nothing is done, we’ll continue protesting and voicing out our concerns. We are calling for crisis response and maintain that Hlaudi must still go. He has been kept in his position for too long in contempt of the public protector and the courts. Those who are backing him, especially Faith Muthambi are complicit in the decline of the SABC”, said Micah Reddy, Media Organiser from Right to Know. He was addressing the media after submitting their memorandum to the leadership of the ANC.
He said that the ANC told them they are dealing with the SABC matter internally but they (ANC) could not provide details and clear timelines as to when and how this will be done.
“We want an accountable public broadcaster that will deliver news and current affairs programming that is accurate, impartial, fair and balanced,” he said.
A transformed public broadcaster should play a crucial role for the promotion of democracy, inform the public and uphold freedom of expression.
The ANC was not available to comment.