Monday, February 11, 2019

South Africa's communications minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams exposed in shocking censorship attempt as she tries to block SABC News from covering protest action.

South Africa's latest minister of communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has been exposed by the South African public broadcaster in a shocking censorship attempt when she blocked a SABC News crew from filming protest action in Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape.

The caustic Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams the 10th communications minister in 10 years and who in late-2018 said she won't engage further with the SABC board regarding a retrenchment plan, on Saturday put her hand in front of the SABC News crew's camera and prevented them from filming protests at an ANC political party event in the Eastern Cape where the ANC had a manifesto launch at Mount Frere.

The SABC's SABC News division decided to broadcast the footage with Stella-Ndabeni-Abrahams' hand covering the lens anyway.

While angry protesters disrupted the event and made their voices heard over the lack of and poor service delivery by the ANC, Stella-Ndabeni-Abrahams blocked SABC News from covering the protesters and ordered the SABC News crew not to give coverage to "people that are out of order".

The SABC News crew tried to interview the protesters who were waving placards while ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile was speaking, but Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams censored their coverage, interfered in their work and put her hand over the camera lens.

In a later statement not explaining what she did or why she did it and making it off as an "altercation", Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said "I would like to offer my sincere apologies for an incident with some members of the media during a provincial rally in Mount Frere while trying to stop the singing comrades."

"I wish to assure the media and South Africans at large of my unreserved commitment to media freedom. I sincerely regret the incident."

The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) slammed Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams over her censorship and abuse of press freedom saying Sanef "is shocked by the actions of communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams".

"The South African National Editors' Forum condemns the blocking of journalists by communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams from covering the actions of protesters at an ANC manifesto launch in Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape."

"While we note that the minister has apologised for the incident, we are concerned that she refers to her actions as an "altercation"."

"We also salute the SABC for airing the footage, showing fierce editorial independence and a shift from the recent past where freedom of expression was undermined at the public broadcaster."