South Africa: National broadcaster forced to drop protest ban

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – The North Gauteng High Court on Wednesday granted an order interdicting South Africa’s national broadcaster from implementing or enforcing its decision not to cover violent protests.

South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Chief Operations Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng last month sparked an international outcry when he implemented the censorship. The Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) last week ruled that the SABC had to withdraw its resolution but a defiant Motsoneng said no one could tell the SABC what to do and that he would challenge the decision in court.

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum (WEF) both complained while the SABC’s CEO Jimmi Mathews resigned after citing turmoil. On Tuesday, eight senior SABC journalists were fired to objecting to the decision.

On Wednesday, the Helen Suzman Foundation which brought the urgent interdict and the SABC reached a settlement. The broadcaster conceded to most of the points in the foundation’s application.

The official opposition Democratic Alliance on Wednesday called on President Jacob Zuma to establish a Commission of Inquiry into the “ongoing collapse” at the SABC.

“The latest in the series of these scandals is a legally indefensible and unconstitutional Apartheid-like editorial policy of censorship, as well as selective, biased and partial reporting, particularly relating to party politics. This is clearly a matter of utmost public concern. Public outrage about the state of the public broadcaster has come from every sector of South African society,” said DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

He said Nelson Mandela, whose birthday was commemorated on Monday, had fought for the freedom of the media.

“That freedom is being eroded at a rapid pace. If President Zuma truly wants to honour Madiba’s legacy and uphold the Constitution, he must intervene in the SABC crisis. The President cannot remain silent any longer,” he added.
-0- PANA CU/MA 20July2016

20 july 2016 11:59:56

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