Tuesday, July 8, 2014

SABC's matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng calls South African print media 'propaganda', says 'they are poisoning the mindset of people'.

The SABC's famously matricless acting chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng seemed unsure of what to do, how to behave, and how exactly a TV interview works - even though he works in television - when he appeared on The Justice Factor with Justice Malala on eNCA (DStv 403).

Hlaudi Motsoeneng weirdly got up and walked to the presenter while the insert was still going on, instead of remaining seated and waiting for the floor manager or producer to come over and give him the okay to get up and walk out of shot.

On-air guests usually know that they have to remain seated after the end of an interview until a commercial break has kicked in.

"Please, keep -  just stay seated," implored Justice Malala as Hlaudi Motsoeneng sheepishly returned to his seat at the end of the interview after having walked halfway across the set already, in front of the back panel TV and seemingly ready and intent on exiting the studio on the opposite side behind the presenter.

It made for a cringe worthy and embarrassing television moment.

It all started on Monday night when Justice Malala asked Hlaudi Motsoeneng - who doesn't have a matric qualification and who wants South African journalists to be licensed - what qualifications journalists will have to have and what criteria will be used to "license" South African journalists.

"For me what is important is we need to license all journalists. What informs me to say that is because some of the journalists really they don't have ethics and principles," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

"I also agree that there are some journalists they are doing so well. They investigate stories and so on. I applaud such journalism. But there are those journalists they just go to internet. Some of them they just go to print media and just own the story when they know this is not their story".

Asked who would issue these licences, Hlaudi Motsoeneng said "an independent body", and pressed again on it said: "in that independent body we should have community representatives, professional peoples dealing with this issues" and "you can have retired journalists".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng told Justice Malala "I have concern about ombudsman" when asked about the Press Ombudsman of South Africa "because what I know is that print media pay the ombudsman. It is not an independent body. It will always be biased towards media".

Justice Malala asked Hlaudi Motsoeneng whether he realises that his suggestions are taking South Africa back to apartheid days and the Zimbabwe scenario where the government uses these kinds of bodies to stifle freedom of speech.

"No. I'm not talking about government. I'm talking about South Africa. I'm talking about people of South Africa," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng was unable to give names or indicate who would be "community", only saying "ordinary people".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng called print media in South Africa "propaganda. They are portraying and even poisoning the mindset of people because most of journalists, when you talk about print media, it's always negative. South Africa is not about corruption".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng told Justice Malala "I don't get involved in running the stories" at the SABC.

He couldn't explain or say whether SABC News runs stories based on purely news values or whether its "good" or "bad" stories.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng, asked on television if he falsified his qualifications - which he apparently admitted to in a recorded interview with the Public Protector - said: "I did not".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng wasn't willing to say whether he is applying for the job of COO at the SABC when asked.

Asked if he was irregularly appointed to the job, Hlaudi Motsoeneng said the question should go to the people at the SABC who appointed him.