‘SABC shenanigans putting SA to shame’

Eight journalists suspended by the SABC are now turning to the Constitutional Court.

Right2Know campaigners join journalists at a protest against SABC censorship policies in front of the broadcaster's building in Sea Point, Cape Town, on 1 July 2016. Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) says the shenanigans at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) are putting the whole nation to shame, and especially the black majority.

But it says that is with the obvious exclusion of those who are benefiting from this impasse.

It's called on the SABC to fully comply with Independent Communications Authority of South Africa's (Icasa) ruling to rescind its editorial policy that bans the broadcast of images of violent and destructive protests, after the public broadcaster claimed that it doesn't see Icasa's judgment as an order.

Eight journalists suspended by the SABC are now going to the Constitutional Court, in a case that could ask judges to make their own finding on this policy.

Lawyers representing the journalists say they're going to the Constitutional Court because the corporation's ban on the broadcast of violent and destructive protests is of national importance.

They have confirmed they are asking judges for direct access to the court, after the journalists were suspended, because they questioned the change in the editorial policy.

The journalists' attorney Aslam Moosajee says this is a crucial issue.

"It's a matter of national importance and I think we all deserve to know, sooner rather than later, whether the reasoning of the Complaints Compliance Committee is correct and what the obligations of the public broadcaster."

As a result of this case, judges may now have to decide whether the broadcaster's new editorial policy is actually constitutional.

Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng has already said he won't comply with an Icasa's ruling striking down his policy, saying outsiders won't tell the SABC what to do.

Meanwhile, the Law Society says the broadcasting must obey the authority.

LISTEN: Law Society on why SABC must comply with Icasa