Could the SABC’s violent protest policy make matters worse?

The broadcaster yesterday announced it will no longer be airing scenes of destruction during protests.

FILE: Nearly 1000 protesters make their way across the N1 at Century City towards the station on their way into town demanding their own land from the city. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - As the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) announces it will no longer air the destruction of property by protesters, there are fears the national broadcaster's new editorial policy could aggravate already tense situations by not giving citizens a platform to air their grievances.

The SABC announced the move yesterday, insisting it's not self-censorship.

Political parties have accused the broadcaster of protecting the African National Congress (ANC) while the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) says it is shocked by the decision.

Rhodes University's professor Leonhard Praeg says the new editorial policy will only make matters worse.

"I suspect this is just going to add fuel to the fire; the idea that you can just stop people from making their concerns visible by any means. People don't take to violence because they're bored, they take to violence because, in a sense, it's a kind-of last resort."

But the SABC's Chief Operations Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, says journalists will still cover protests without fear of favour.

"We are not going to incite people to burn property. It is criminal. We can't celebrate that."

The ANC is the only political party to welcome the decision.

LISTEN: SABC explains decision to halt broadcasts of violent protests