Friday, May 2, 2014

BREAKING. Second public protest at the SABC in a week; protesters call for end to 'rot and irregularities', says SABC is a 'megaphone for ANC'.

With complete censorship at the South African public broadcaster with zero television news coverage in the main news bulletins on the SABC's 3 TV channels and on SABC News on Friday, the SABC failed to report to South African citizens about the second public protest action held today at the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters about the SABC.

Following the public march and protest action of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to the SABC on Tuesday when thousands of people marched to the SABC earlier this week, today saw the Independent Producers' Organisation (IPO), Numsa (National Union of Metal Workers) trade union, the Right2Know campaign, the Support Public Broadcasting Coalition (SOS Coalition), the Voices of the Poor of Concerned Residents of South Africa, the Democratic Left Front and members of the public picket the SABC at the broadcaster's doorstep.

Protesters held up placards and banners saying things like "SABC murders local content", "SABC squanders, while film makers suffer", "The SABC is for public, not party broadcaster", "SABC for all, not political party", "Politicians' hands OFF the SABC", "Media for the Public and NOT for Profit", "Save the SABC, fire Hlaudi" and "SABC, where are the documentaries?"

The SABC and its news division had no coverage of it. The SABC's flagship evening news bulletin on SABC3 on Friday made no reference to what happened in front of the SABC today.

It's shocking given that the SABC is supposed to report on any news that involves the SABC itself, irrespective of how small or big - if it involves the SABC.

A public protest at the SABC against the SABC should be covered and be reported by the SABC - it falls squarely and legitimately in the public interest.

The Right2Know campaign, a civil society public pressure group with no political affiliation, organised today's public protest action and co-ordinated the picketing action with the various organisations.

The Right2Know organisation called for "an end to the rot and irregularities at the SABC", with Numsa saying that "the SABC is turning into the state broadcasting megaphone for Luthuli House" [ANC headquarters].

"Our public broadcaster, the SABC, is increasingly becoming the mouthpiece of the state and ruling party; willfully underplaying the state's illegitimate use of violence against the people of this country, censoring programming that asks why our public representatives have failed us and willfully misinterpreting its editorial policies and regulations to silence opposition parties and the public from airing their grievances and opinions," says Right2Know.

"We are raising concerns about threats to freedom of speech," said Dale McKinley of Right2Know.

"We want a free public broadcaster," said Sekoetlane Phamodi, SOS Coalition coordinator.

"There is a rot in the SABC and acting chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng must go," said Dinga Sikwebu, Numsa coordinator.