Icasa expected to rule on SABC editorial decision saga today

Lobby groups lodged a complaint with Icasa over the SABC’s decision which they say amounts to censorship.

A group of Hlaudi Motsoeneng supporters picket outside the SABC offices in Johannesburg. Picture: Dineo Bendile/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) is today expected to rule on the South African Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC) decision to ban the broadcasting of public property being burnt during protests.

Lobby groups lodged a complaint with Icasa over the SABC's decision which they say amounts to censorship.

As the deadline approaches for Icasa's ruling, calls for the SABC to reverse the editorial decision have escalated.

Following civil society pickets, marches and petitions, the SABC will today know whether its editorial changes are in line with Icasa's code of conduct.

The Save Our SABC Coalition, which is one of the organisations that laid a complaint against the SABC, said it is confident Icasa will rule in favour of the South African public.

The organisations Sekoetlane Phamodi said: "We fully expect that Mr. Motsoeneng and his team will lose abjectly."

The public broadcaster however is adamant its decision not to broadcast violent behaviour at protests is in line with the requirements of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa.

SA ARTISTS BACK HLAUDI

A group of South African artists in support of Motsoeneng said they would protect him from anyone who threatened his position at the broadcaster, including the ANC.

The group picketed outside the SABC's offices in Auckland Park interrupting an anti-censorship demonstration happening at the same time.

While they are calling for Motsoeneng to be protected, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and other organisations said that he needed to be fired.

The president of Musician's Association of South Africa, Tebogo Sithathu, said that any attack on Motsoeneng was an attack on artists.

"People that are against him and his spot must shut up. They never spoke out when we were suffering as South African musicians."

But the SACP said even that though Motsoeneng played a role in increasing the local content quota on SABC stations, he was not the Messiah.

The party's Solly Mapaila said: "Hlaudi Motsoeneng must go. He has failed."

The two sides faced-off as they sang and picketed outside the SABC office.