Tuesday, June 7, 2016

SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng on eNCA's Maggs on Media slams media experts as bad parents; 'I'm debating with people who know nothing about journalism'.

The SABC's famously matricless boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng has slammed experienced media experts critical of his SABC News censorship decision during an eNCA panel discussion as bad parents and saying "I'm debating with people who know nothing about journalism here".

The public broadcaster's belligerent chief operating officer (COO) also declared that his controversial ban on showing public protest visuals is fully supported by SABC staff and SABC News personnel.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng took part in a panel discussion in the latest episode of Maggs on Media on eNCA (DStv 403) and hit back against media experts that included Glenda Daniels, an experienced senior lecturer at Wits University's Media Studies department and Dario Milo, media law specialist at law firm Webber Wentzel, who criticised his controversial SABC News censorship decree.

"They're not responsible. By saying what they're saying, I don't know what kind of parents they are," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

A constantly hand-waving Hlaudi Motsoeneng told Jeremy Maggs that his censorship decision of a blackout of showing certain public protest visuals on SABC News is "controversial to few people within SABC".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng, embroiled in a protracted court case about his controversial appointment as SABC COO, said that if the public broadcaster is taken to court over the censorship decision "we will find them in court. It's fine. We are ready. We always enjoy to go to court".

Academic and former anti-apartheid activist, Glenda Daniels, a widely respected and experienced journalist who had covered protests, said "this is exactly what happened during the Apartheid days when the SABC censored material".

"It's censorship. It's stopping freedom of expression and its stopping the public's right to know about the reality of the situation in South Africa. And it's happening right before the elections".

"Do you honestly think that we can fool the people of South Africa about what's going on by doing sunshine journalism?"

Dario Milo, media law specialist at law firm Webber Wentzel said the SABC's censorship "breaches the SABC's own editorial policy passed just a few months ago where they say that they are not, when they report news, to suppress available facts. And this is exactly what this policy does".

"Of course it's inherent to television that you tell the story with visuals".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng was asked if he took legal advice on his SABC censorship diktat but didn't give a clear and specific answer to the question.

When asked to respond to the near universal avalanche of criticism on his decision he said "I don't want to respond".

When asked when exactly during protests cameras will be switched off and who specifically will do it, Hlaudi Motsoeneng failed to give a specific answer, saying "our journalists at the scene, we are clear, and they need to adhere to the policy, they need to adhere to the instruction within the SABC".

'If people are not happy at SABC, they shall go'
He gave no answers when Jeremy Maggs asked if SABC News journalists are happy with the decision, whether the head of SABC News is happy with the decision, and if the head of news was consulted when the decision was made.

"If people are not happy within the SABC, they shall go where they will be happy. There are many people, even here at e.tv, they want to work at the SABC," said a rambling Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Glenda Daniels said "so you don't have joint decision-making at the SABC. There's just an edict that comes and falls on the newsroom floor".

The episode of Maggs on Media will repeat on eNCA on Wednesday at 12:30 and Thursday at 11:30 and is also available to watch on eNCA's website online.