ANC abusing the SABC - EFF

Fighters condemn broadcaster's efforts to suppress open line programmes on radio platforms


28 February 2016

The Economic Freedom Fighters condemns the SABC’s efforts to suppress open line programmes on radio platforms in the pretence to avoid electioneering. In addition, the SABC has sent out a memorandum that no parties may be allowed to speak on radio unless approved by the editors. These two moves represent a clear decision to close up space at the public broadcaster to hold government accountable.

The ideal that makes a public broadcaster is free speech and the ability to hold those in power acceptable. Open lines give a chance to the ordinary voices in the suppressed, neglected and forgotten parts of our country to air their views and influence the setting of the agenda of public discourse.

SABC has once more insulted the intelligence of its journalists by impressing on them that they need tutelage during this local government elections year. It is effectively saying they cannot through their journalistic judgment differentiate between electioneering and general public discussion.

It is indeed true that the SABC's move comes as a result of many ANC ministers who complained that there is too much negativity against the government of the ANC. The move therefore is not concerning elections, but protection of ANC from public criticism, which is a clear violation of freedoms of speech.

We call on ICASA to investigate this matter as it is a clear violation of freedom of speech and interference with journalistic independence.

Statement issued by the Economic Freedom Fighters, 28 February 2016