Decision to ban airing of violent protests was fair - Mugavhe

Icasa will decide whether the editorial decision taken by the SABC complies with its standards.

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

JOHANNESBURG - South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board chairperson, Mbulaheni Mugavhe, said the broadcaster believed its decision to ban the airing of violent protests was fair and it was not anxious over the outcome of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa's (Icasa) ruling on the matter.

The communications authority is expected to decide whether or not the editorial decision taken by the SABC complies with its code of conduct.

While the broadcaster said that the editorial change would ensure responsible journalism, it has been accused of censorship.

Maguvhe said the SABC remained firm in its belief that banning footage of violent protests was the right decision.

"The decision we took is genuine and we'll be firm on that one."

But Zwelinzima Vavi and others, who have been lobbying against censorship at the SABC, are hoping for the reversal of the broadcaster's decision.

"They should throw out as well the whole issue of editorial policy that have been pushed down the throats of the citizens."

While Icasa is yet to announce its verdict on the matter, the SABC is today expected to go ahead with disciplinary measures against seven employees suspended for questioning the editorial policies.

Meanwhile, Maguvhe said it was regrettable that political parties appeared to be making threats against the broadcaster's board.

The African National Congress (ANC) has since called for a meeting with Communications Minister Faith Muthambi to demand answers about changes made at the public broadcaster.

Communications Commission Chairperson, Jackson Mthembu, has accused the SABC of failing to adhere to the party's policies.

But Maguvhe said that the ANC could not dictate terms to the broadcaster, as it was accountable to the South African public.

"It can't be the ANC only which is a stakeholder. We listen to the views of different stakeholders and I am not sure when we tied the knot with the ANC."