Icasa warns SABC over disobeying its ruling

Icasa has ordered the SABC to rescind its editorial policy regarding the coverage of violent protests.

Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Eyewitness News has learnt that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has told the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to desist from further contravening its ruling on the broadcaster's ban on the airing of images of destructive protests.

The SABC had claimed it couldn't comply with Icasa's judgement because it didn't know if it was a judgment from its council or only a recommendation of its compliance committee.

In a strongly worded letter directed to the SABC's attorneys, Icasa says the broadcaster is ordered to rescind its decision regarding the airing of images of violent protests.

It also says the council meeting that made this decision was unanimous and the decision of its compliance committee was upheld.

Icasa also says it only communicated its decision verbally because it was an urgent matter.

SABC Chief Operating Officer, Hluadi Motsoeneng, has already said he's happy to fight this in court while eight SABC journalists have now asked the Constitutional Court to agree to hear the case.


Civil society groups have called on advertisers and South Africans to prevent the SABC from sinking further into anarchy by showing solidarity with the four senior journalists who have been dismissed from the broadcaster.

Yesterday, Jacques Steenkamp, Krivani Pillay, Suna Venter and Foeta Krige received termination letters for inadequately responding to concerns raised by the SABC against them during their suspension.

Lawyers representing the journalists say they intend continuing with their legal battle in the Labour Court while an urgent interdict at the Constitutional Court is pending.

Media Monitoring Africa's William Bird says every South African and organisation, including advertisers at the SABC, have the power to protect the country's fundamental freedoms.

"Part of the recourse must be the demand that senior management and those that took this decision must be held personally liable."

The Right to Know campaign's Micah Reddy says it's high time that Motsoeneng's dictatorial reign be put to an end.

"To prevent further damage to the public broadcaster, it's a steadily sinking ship and is in financial turmoil."

The broadcaster has declined to comment publically but in the termination letters seen by EWN, the journalists have been dismissed for behaving in a manner that undermines the management at the broadcaster.