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Motsoeneng: Not covering violent protests is responsible journalism

The SABC says it will no longer show property being destroyed during service delivery protests.

FILE: The SABC's Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Broadcasting Corporation's(SABC) Chief Operations Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng says its "responsible journalism", not to incite violence and he stands by his decision not to broadcast visuals of protesters destroying public property.

The public broadcaster announced this morning that it would no longer show property being destroyed during service delivery protests, saying this does not amount to censorship.

Motsoeneng explains that journalists have a duty to promote nation building.

"We are responsible; when our journalists arrive and people are marching peacefully, we will cover that. But immediately, because even these people who are marching will call for a camera to focus on them as they burn [property], and that is inciting violence. We can't allow that to happen."

LISTEN: SABC's Motsoeneng on new policy not to screen protest visuals

At the same time, Motsoeneng says the SABC will still be reporting on protests without fear or favour, and they will broadcast the "aftermath" of demonstrations.

The African National Congress (ANC) has commended the SABC's decision, saying this is in the interest of nation building.

ANC's Zizi Kodwa said: "If the editorial policy of the national broadcaster is to educate, entertain and create awareness, among others, it will be correct. It's a responsible decision, it's responsible journalism, and it's not self-censorship. It's a responsible one to an extent that you don't show what is not in the good interest of nation-building."

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance says it's considering its legal options saying the SABC's new editorial policy gives Motsoeneng total control of all the broadcaster's programming and news content.