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South Africa: The SABC's 'Betrayal of the South African Public'


Photograph: allafrica.com

Former e.TELEVISION video editor Thuthuka Zondi, left, Kaya FM Ninety Five.9 sports journalist Kate Nokwe, centre, and eNCA Information journalist, Theresa Taylor, right, protest SABC censorship.

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Pricey President Zuma, Minister Muthambi and Professor Maguvhe,

We, the undersigned, are former SABC board members and senior executives who had been intimately concerned within the transformation of the corporation from an apartheid state broadcaster to a true public broadcaster. As public broadcaster the employer used to be remodeled to mirror the solemn commitment of The Brand New South Africa to an ethos of openness, fairness, independence each in its programming and the way in which it used to be governed. Equally so these values were critical to the character of South Africa’s new democracy that used to be being shaped.

We write to specific our grave challenge at the extent to which the SABC has deviated from the clear principles of fine public broadcasting that had been laid down at the time of that transformation. The enforcement of stories censorship and the summary dismissal of journalists who objected to such an guideline is a gross violation of those rules. Such events, at the side of distortions in the balance of reports reporting which were evident to us for a while, have reached some extent that quantities to an abandonment by the SABC of its mandate to be an excellent and honest reflector of events in our society.

This Can Be A betrayal no longer best of the South African public, which the SABC is referred to as upon to serve without concern or favour, but additionally of many individuals in civil society, as well as and broadcasting consultants from abroad, who worked hard to supply a public broadcaster to rival the most effective on the earth. That goal was once done alongside the daybreak of our new democracy. The SABC was once then free of the shackles of apartheid to embrace the norms and values of The Brand New society — with A Brand New board and management to carry out its new mandate. We had been a part of that founding course of, and we feel bound to lift our voices towards its despoliation.

The News is censured. Editorial choices are dictated from above. The Public broadcaster that the SABC had become, with an editorial code that committed the agency to fair, balanced and independent journalism, free from outside influences, be they political or industrial, shows clear indicators of reverting back into being a state broadcaster.

We call upon the SABC to serve without worry or favour, to be a force for just right, a smartly from which all its folks will drink and a typical reference level for a society in search of team spirit.

At its highest the SABC must be a crucible of tradition and creativity, the place programme makers, writers, comedians, musicians are in steady interaction and flower in community. They characterize the irrepressible creativity of all South Africans within the brilliant public house of their democracy. The Talents are ample and genuine. Regularly the creativity can be chaotic, complex and uncomfortable, however that will have to not be spurned or censored. It’s The stuff of life. New and genuine voices will have to define the character of the SABC.

Given the divisions in our united states and the excessive fee of illiteracy, the SABC has a duty now not simplest to help arm our people with talents but in addition to teach them about their civic tasks. No different company is as neatly placed to fulfil any such job.

It Is subsequently our view that:

Censorship has no place on the SABC. It’s alien to and in violation of the noble idea of freedom of knowledge and/or freedom of speech as enshrined in our structure. The censorship of certain Information items currently in position on the SABC will have to subsequently be finished away with forthwith;

The state of concern beneath which SABC employees are working is just not conducive to just right journalism or programming. It has to cease forthwith.

The people or management found liable for the censorship and victimisation of staff must be disciplined and removed from the organization;

The SABC must revert to the codes, principles and practices that have been adopted at the time of transformation.

The SABC Board must immediately appoint a credible and unbiased process team to analyze the malaise on the organization and allow all employees to give proof with out fear of victimisation.

Yours faithfully,

Brigalia Bam: Former Deputy Chairperson, SABC Board

Prof Njabulo S Ndebele: Former Member, SABC Board; Chancellor, UJ.

Joe Thloloe: Former Editor-in-Chief, SABC TELEVISION News

Allister Sparks: Former Board Member and Editor-in Chief, Television Information

Govin Reddy: Former Deputy CEO, SABC

Mathatha Tsedu: Former Deputy Chief Executive, SABC News

Barney Mthombothi: Former Chief Executive, SABC News

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