SABC refuses to back down on its editorial policies

Icasa told the SABC to withdraw its decision not to broadcast footage of violent protests.

FILE: SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) said that it was determined to push ahead with its editorial policies and has called on anyone with a problem with its internal decisions to come forward.

The corporation has been told by Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to withdraw its decision not to broadcast footage of violent protests.

The public broadcaster said it would not apologise for what it said is "the promotion of irresponsible journalism".

The SABC said it was not backing down from its controversial editorial changes and is now challenging Icasa's ruling on the matter.

SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng said that the corporation would take the matter to the highest court if need be.

"If we need to go to the Constitutional Court, that is where the matter will end. We are not going to change anything, people can forget [about that happening]."

Motsoeneng said that they would not allow anyone to tell them how to run the public broadcaster.

"We are going to run the SABC professionally, the way it needs to be run and we are not going to be influenced by anyone."

A Right to Know Campaign activist was told to leave yesterday's briefing after shouting "Hlaudi must go" and "away with censorship".

SABC CAN GO TO COURT

Icasa said that the SABC was within its rights to go to court to challenge an order that the broadcaster scrap its ban on showing footage of violent protests in its news.

The embattled broadcaster has repeatedly insisted its editorial policy doesn't amount to censorship.

Icasa's Rubben Mohlaloga said that the authority's recommendations were binding but the SABC was free to challenge them in court.

"All decisions of authority are subject to legal review and of course they have that right."

The authority said the SABC ban was not in line with its licensing requirements as well as the bill of rights which stipulated freedom of expression.

Lobby groups who have been involved in bringing the matter before Icasa said they would monitor developments to ensure the SABC follows the correct channels to either comply with or legally oppose the recommendations.