Faith Muthambi: SABC is promoting cohesion, fostering nation building

The communications minister says the SABC’s decision will discourage ‘attention seeking anarchists’.

Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has welcomed the South African Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC) decision not to broadcast footage of public property being destroyed during protests.

Muthambi says the decision was taken in the spirit of social cohesion, and not censorship, as critics claim.

On Friday, the public broadcaster announced it would not carry footage of people burning state property in any of its television news bulletins.

The SABC has come under fire from free speech organisations and opposition parties over its decision to filter the news, with some saying the SABC was becoming a state propaganda machine.

But Communications Minister Faith Muthambi disagrees.

She says the move to ban images of protesters burning public property will go a long way to discourage "attention seeking anarchists".

Her spokesperson, Mish Molakeng, says, "One of the SABC's mandates is to promote nation building and social cohesion and as a department we believe that the decision by the SABC, not show these images, was taken in the spirit of promoting social cohesion and fostering nation building."

On Friday, the public broadcaster's Chief Operations Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, said the SABC had taken a "bold" decision to show that violent protests are not necessary.

The SABC also appealed to other local broadcasters and print media to follow suit.