Lobby groups picket outside Icasa offices ahead of SABC censorship ruling

Icasa will today decide whether the SABC’s footage decision is in line with its code of conduct.

Journalists and people from the media industry gathered outside the SABC in Auckland Park, dressed in black, in support of the national broadcaster's journalists who were suspended for raising concerns about policy changes. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A picket is underway outside Independent Communications Authority of South Africa's (Icasa) offices in Sandton as the body is expected to make a ruling on the South African Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC) ban on broadcasting violent images at protests.

Today's picket is led by the SOS Coalition and the Right to Know campaign.

The lobby groups are among several organisations that laid complaints with the communications authority, calling for the SABC's editorial decision to be reversed.

Representatives from the Right to Know Campaign and the Save Our SABC Coalition are waiting outside Icasa's offices for a ruling.

The communications authority will today decide whether the SABC's decision is in line with its code of conduct.

According to the SABC, the latest editorial change is in line with the requirements of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA).

The broadcaster says it has a duty not to glamorise violence through its news coverage.

But civil society organisations and political parties say the decision made by the SABC amounts to censorship.

They say the broadcaster has a responsibility to show the truth as it is.


At the same time, Zwelinzima Vavi says he's hopeful the communications authority will rule in favour of the Constitution.

Vavi, who is part of a delegation leading a movement for media freedom at the SABC, says he is hopeful today's outcome will be a positive one.

He says Icasa officials have given an assurance that they will act with the best interest of the Constitution in mind.

"They said that the Act prescribed to them that they Act in the best interest of the Constitution and on behalf of the people in this country."