Thursday, March 10, 2016

SABC insists it is correct to censor and ban all politico talk from callers outside of current affairs shows; threatens workers who help political parties in programmes.

South Africa's public broadcaster insists it's correct: The SABC says will stick with, and is right by censoring and banning all political talk from callers outside of news and current affairs.

The SABC is also threatening workers that if they don't adher there will be consequences, warning SABC staff that it will "strongly deal" with employees who help political parties to use SABC programmes for political gain.

The SABC is reacting to reports, after City Press and The Sunday Times on Sunday reported that the SABC ordered staff to censor listeners' comments and not to allow people calling in to do "electioneering".

In written instructions the SABC said "Communication has been sent to all radio stations to stop having open lines for this current period before the local government elections" and that this is done to protect "the SABC against anybody who could potentially use the platform for their own benefit and also use it for electioneering".

The South African broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has now been asked to investigate.

In a statement the SABC says the public broadcaster believes in the "correctness of the decision that the SABC has taken to the effect that political discussions should only be dealt with in the news and current affairs programmes only".

The SABC says in the statement that "the decision was made to make sure that political parties do no misuse entertainment, religious and sports programmes for their political expediency".

"The SABC would like to strongly warn political parties against misusing our programmes that are meant for other purposes either than news and current affairs".

The SABC is also warning SABC workers, saying "we will also strongly deal with our employees who will assist any political parties to use their programmes for political expediency".