EFF statement on SABC's decision to ban footage showing destruction of property
26 May, 2016
The EFF condemns SABC’s decision to “no longer show footage of destruction of public property during protests”. The SABC argues that to cover the news using such footage is a promotion of these actions and will encourage other communities to do the same.
This is by all standards a journalistic censoring based on an unfounded logic. It is related to the shallow sentiment that the public broadcaster should only be telling happy news. The SABC must understand that the burning of public property has been an idiom of protests long before the existence of television and print media. There are no grounds to think showing the country that people have burned a public building will encourage others to do the same.
In stead, when you do not show what has happened, you tell incomplete news and no one ever understands the extent of the frustration and damage that would have occurred. Television is not radio; it depends absolutely on “images”, that is - to Tell A Vision. Without images, we may as well shutdown the SABC Television news department and proceed only with radio.
We know for a fact that this decision has nothing to do with averting the promotion of violent protests. Instead, it has to do with not showing protests during elections because this hurts the ANC. The SABC plays movies where there is murder, gangsterism, war and other social ills taking place, yet it does not see these as a promotion. When the SABC tells the story of antiapartheid or liberation struggle heroes, it shows the protests where police and unarmed black people battle freedom on the streets.
Therefore, it is protest action against the ANC which is the central reason why a decision to ban news reporting on “violent protest” is being made. The SABC even foolishly calls it “public property”, as though if protests were to target privately owned property, burn it down, then they would show it on TV. This demonstrates the very limits of the decision and that it has nothing to do with how covering a violent scene on television promotes it in society.
The decision is only about protecting of the image of the ANC, saving it from the whole country seeing that it has caused so much suffering in our country.
Issued by Mbuyiseni Quintin Ndlozi, National Spokesperson, EFF, 26 May 2016