Thursday, December 4, 2014

The SABC's veteran Setswana news anchor Eazy Matjila rails against public broadcaster and SABC News' biased preference for Nguni news.

It's not just Afrikaans viewers who are increasingly concerned, unhappy and becoming vocal about what they perceive to be shoddy and dismissive treatment by the South African public broadcaster when it comes to TV news in their language.

The SABC's own veteran Tswana news anchor, Eazy Matjila had an unexpected outburst of his own - against his own employer - at an SABC press event when he railed against the SABC News division's apparent biased preference for Nguni TV news at the Summer TV press preview.

At the SABC's Summer TV press preview held a week ago in Johannesburg, Eazy Matjila, during the Q&A session, surprised, and embarrassed the SABC when he took the mic to say that the public broadcaster is marginalising Setswana, Sepedi and Sesotho as languages on SABC2, preferring and favouring Nguni news on SABC1.

At the event filled with TV critics, SABC TV talent, publicists and media, Verona Duwarkah, the SABC's group executive of the TV division, tried to shut Eazy Matjila down, answering by saying his issues should be raised internally.

Eazy Matjila claims that the SABC, for decades, has looked less favourably at Sesotho, Sepedi and Setswana with those TV news bulletins on the public broadcaster trailing in the viewership ratings compared to the Nguni news.

Eazy Matjila claimed that SABC News management is unfairly and unjustly always comparing the Setswana, Sesotho and Sepedi TV news ratings to that of the Nguni news, although the different TV news bulletins cater to different audiences which can't be compared.

Eazy Matjila was vocal that that the Nguni news is on SABC1 which is the biggest TV channel [it has the largest broadcasting footprint and is subsequently received by the largest number of TV households], gets a huge lead-in from popular entertainment programming - something which is not the case for the Setswana, Sesotho and Sepedi TV news.

He said that SABC1 has popular programming leading into the Nguni news which carries a large part of the available and tuned-in audience into the Nguni news which is not the case with SABC2.