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SANEF STATEMENT ON ICASA DECISION ON SABC AND ON THE SABC BOARD REACTION July 11 2016
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SANEF STATEMENT ON ICASA DECISION ON SABC AND ON THE SABC BOARD REACTION July 11 2016

SANEF STATEMENT ON ICASA DECISION ON SABC AND ON THE SABC BOARD REACTION July 11 2016
The South African National Editor’s Forum (Sanef) welcomes the ruling by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) directing the SABC to withdraw its resolution that it will no longer broadcast footage of destruction of public property during protests. The decision affirms media freedoms and sends a strong message that censorship has no place in a democracy censorship.
Sanef is however shocked and dismayed by the SABC decision to not immediately lift the ban but to rather take the matter on review. We believe the SABC as a public institution that derives its mandate from the constitution would best lead by abiding by a Chapter 9 institution’s decision. The editorial policy of the SABC has always been guided by public input. For the SABC to ban footage, without consulting the public flies in the face of the spirit of the constitution. It is a decision that risks returning the SABC to the dark old days of apartheid where the institution that is supposed to be a public broadcaster was used as a mouthpiece of the then government.
The SABC claimed that it decided not to show the footage because broadcasting such visuals encouraged others to do the same.  However during the ICASA hearing the SABC failed to show evidence of this.
SANEF also questions the comparison made by the SABC board chairperson to publishing pictures and footage of dead bodies. The two are not the same. Editors across the country continue to take decisions on graphic pictures every single day guided by the spirit of public interest. The SABC should be guided by the Broadcast Complaints Commission of South Africa on publishing or broadcasting pictures and footage that could fall under “gratuitous violence”. The decision to completely ban footage amounts to sanitizing the news, as Icasa has effectively found.
For Inquiries:
Sanef Deputy Chairperson Katy Katopodis 082 805 7022
Sanef Executive Director Mathatha Tsedu 082 454 0527

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