DA to consider legal action against against Hlaudi's total control – Phumzile Van Damme

Motsoeneng using new policy to turn SABC into portal for his political masters at Luthuli House, says party

DA to consider legal action against Hlaudi’s total control at the SABC 

27 May 2016

The DA is in the process of considering its legal options following the announcement by the COO of the SABC, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, that the public broadcaster will no longer air footage of service delivery protests. 

The reason Motsoeneng is allowed to make this absurd decision is as a result of the new SABC editorial policy approved in secret by Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, and the SABC Board in February this year. 

The policy gives total control of all the SABC’s programming and news content to the SABC COO who is also a political appointee. 

It is basic principle in many news organizations worldwide that editorial decisions should to be made by news editors, and not politically-appointed management, in particular, in order insulate news decisions from any commercial or political considerations.  

It is clear that Mr Motsoeneng is using the Editorial Policy to deliver on the task to fully turn the SABC into a propaganda portal for his political masters at Luthuli House. 

In terms of the Broadcasting Act, as South Africa’s public broadcaster, the SABC has a responsibility to provide news and public affairs programming which meets the highest standards of journalism, in a fair, impartial and unbiased manner. Censoring service delivery protests will fall foul of this requirement. 

The DA repeatedly called on Muthambi to withdraw this policy, and conduct proper public consultations. Our pleas have fallen on deaf ears, and as such, we are left with no option but to consider legal action. 

Issued by Phumzile Van Damme, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, 27 May 2016