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Phathiswa Magopeni details the level of political interference at SABC

The broadcaster’s head of news described a culture of fear where people from outside the corporation were issuing instruction directly to the TV control room.

FILE: The SABC's Phathiswa Magopeni as the group executive for news and current affairs. Picture: Twitter/@PhathiswaPM.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)’s head of news Phathiswa Magopeni has described the degree of political interference in the public broadcaster where external people had direct lines to TV news production teams in order to issue instructions.

Magopani made the submission at the state capture commission of inquiry on Tuesday but did not identify who these people were.

The commission has heard evidence of how the corporation is technically insolvent and barely has enough funds every month to pay for salaries.

The broadcaster’s head of news described a culture of fear where people from outside the corporation were issuing instruction directly to the TV control room.

“You are sitting there as a producer, and then comes a call… ordinarily, calls that go to the control room are calls from within the system in the newsroom. But these would be calls from external parties telling producers not to put certain content on-air or to change stories that are currently running.”

Magopeni did not identify these external parties but said the SABC would no longer buckle under political pressure.

She spoke passionately about the public broadcaster being independent and impartial.