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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sex, sport, nudity, violence and scheduling are hot topics of discussion as deadline for the public submissions approach for SABC policies review.


Whether you love the SABC - or not - Valentine's Day, 14 February, is the deadline for South Africans, organisations, and any interested parties to send their submissions to South Africa's beleaguered public broadcaster to make it better and which is reviewing its editorial policy.

So far sex, nudity, sport, violence and even TV scheduling have been hot topics as points for discussion as the deadline for public submissions for the public broadcaster's review of editorial policies approach.

SABC news and current Affairs programming at both an operational and policy level have so far come under scrutiny, with issues around editorial independence, "positive" coverage and urban bias generating discussion at the SABC's nationwide public hearings.

"The SABC and the decisions taken by its staff are subject to scrutiny in the way few other institutions and no other media organisations experience," says Graham Welch, the SABC's general manager for editorial policy and governance.

"Whether there is a decision to can a programme or the announcement of a resignation, one thing is guaranteed – the generation of heated debate and acres of column space."

"Often the passion that commentators, politicians, activists and members of the general public bring to these conversations is informed by the critical role the SABC plays as South Africa's national public broadcaster. Many of the most intense conversations about the SABC relate directly to decisions that are taken about content carried on SABC platforms."

"These content decisions are taken within a context. This context includes guidelines that provide a framework for the way in which decisions around content, whether controversial or not, are taken. These guidelines are collectively known as the editorial policies of the SABC," says Graham Welch.

The SABC is currently reviewing its editorial policies - a process which began in June last year. So far the SABC has hosted 15 public hearings through South Africa. The SABC will revise its policies, but first release it for public comment.

"The editorial policies that are under review currently define the framework within which all decisions about the content carried by the SABC need to be taken," says Graham Welch.

"They deal with general programming, news and current affairs, language, local content, universal service and access, religious programming and education."

The SABC's editorial policies can be found at www.sabc.co.za/editorialpolicy and all submissions should be sent to editorial@sabc.co.za. Submissions to the SABC can also be posted to Editorial Policy, Pvt Bag X1, Auckland Park, 2006.