Tuesday, October 7, 2014

SABC investigating second multiple blackout this year which took all SABC TV channels, radio stations off the air on Saturday and Sunday.

The SABC doesn't know the cause and is investigating the reason behind multiple blackouts this past weekend which saw SABC1, SABC2, SABC3, SABC News on MultiChoice's DStv as well as SABC radio stations go dark for an hour on Saturday, and again on Sunday.

It's the second blackout of the SABC's TV channels this year, following the cut of the SABC's TV channels on DStv in April due to technical problems and a failure of MultiChoice's head-end equipment and back-up system.

The cause of this second blackout is not known.

Besides Saturday and Sunday's blackouts, the SABC's TV channels and TV news bulletins experienced ongoing intermittent video and audio problems on Sunday evening.

On Tuesday the SABC said the public broadcaster has launched an investigation, with SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago saying "we really do not want to be blaming anyone".

Meanwhile the South African Communist Party (SACP) is blasting the SABC - coverage of the party during a news bulletin was marred as part of the technical problems. The SACP has called for an investigation and for the SABC to account for what happened.

"Every week brings fresh signs of a state of administrative disarray and incompetence at the SABC," says the SACP in a statement.

"A presenter voice-over" was used along with newsmaker images without audio to cover the launch of the financial sector campaign on Sunday night's news that were interrupted. This was repeated on the 24 hour SABC News on DStv channel 404."

"What happened at the SABC over the weekend is known in international broadcasting as 'black-on-air'. 'Black-on-air' is indeed often seen a symptom of deep structural and systemic crisis in a broadcasting entity. This calls for serious action as it should be a cause for concern to all those committed to public broadcasting," says the SACP.

"The disarray in the SABC is the direct outcome of unsuitable and unqualified personnel in key positions, as well as internal interference by these forces in editorial policy. The SACP calls for drastic intervention by the government and relevant authorities."