SABC’s non-coverage of violent protests compared to apartheid censorship

In 1985, the NY Times quoted Minister Louis le Grange imposing restrictions of journalists.

FILE: The SABC's head office in Johannesburg. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - There's been wide-ranging criticism of the South African Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC) decision to stop showing visuals of property being destroyed by protesters, with some comparing it to media censorship during apartheid.

Today, the national broadcaster announced it will no longer be showing visuals of protesters destroying public property as this incites violence.

The SABC insists this is not self-censorship but rather a duty to ensure that such footage doesn't encourage others to follow suit.

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

In 1985, the New York Times published an article quoting Law and Order Minister Louis le Grange, who imposed restrictions of journalists.

He said government was "concerned with the presence of television and other camera crews in unrest situations, which proved to be a catalyst to further violence."

The SABC's Hlaudi Motsoeneng insists the decision is responsible journalism.

"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."

The African National Congress says the SABC made the right call because it's educating citizens and showing responsible journalism.

The Democratic Alliance says it's considering its legal options, while the Economic Freedom Fighters, Inkatha Freedom Party and Congress of the People have strongly condemned this as censorship.