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SABC didn't transgress any ANC policies - Maguvhe

The SABC does not believe that it contravened any ANC policies.

FILE: Former Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi joined the picket outside the SABC offices in Auckland Park today calling for an end to censorship. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) said that it wanted to know which African National Congress (ANC) policies it is alleged to have contravened by refusing to air footage of public property being destroyed during protests.

The broadcaster has reacted to claims by chairperson of the Communications Committee, Jackson Mthembu, of failing to consult the ruling party about editorial changes and making amendments that contravene the ANC policies.

But the SABC said that it used its discretion to tackle the issue of broadcasting violent protests, which it said wasn't adequately addressed in the Constitution.

SABC board chairperson, Mbulaheni Maguvhe, said he did not understand how making what he said was a responsible decision could be viewed as a contravention of ANC policy.

"If we're not showing violence and mayhem are we transgressing any ANC policy? I don't believe so."

He also said the SABC was not accountable to the ANC but to the South African public as a whole.

"I'm not sure when did we tie the knot with the ANC, we've never been in a marriage."

Despite widespread criticism of the decision to ban violent images, the SABC insisted that the move was made with the best interests of South Africans in mind.

Meanwhile, 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.

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