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MMA encouraged by SABC putting children first in new editorial policy

The SABC policy says the broadcaster will ensure that its content does not cause alarm, distress or incite aggressive behaviour in children.

FILE: The SABC headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – Media Monitoring Africa says it’s encouraged that the new South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) editorial policy protects children’s rights.

The SABC has launched its revised editorial policy that mainly returns independence to the newsroom.

Media Monitoring Africa director William Bird said the organisation had also recommended an internal ombudsman for complaints.

He said while that didn’t come through, the new policy recognises the Press Council and the broadcaster can be held accountable by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA).

The new SABC editorial policy makes the head of news and current affairs the editor in chief, stripping the group chief executive officer (CEO) of those powers.

This also means the upward referral policy that was introduced under the former chief operations officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng is now scrapped.

But Bird took note of the focus on the protection of children in the policy.

“Children are covered in a number of different ways and that’s really important because you’re talking about putting the most vulnerable and marginalised group in South Africa central to your editorial policy.”

The SABC policy says the broadcaster will ensure that its content does not cause alarm, distress or incite aggressive behaviour in children.