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Icasa orders SABC to scrap protest footage ban

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Communications regulator Icasa has ordered the SABC to withdraw its resolution to not air violent public protests on television news.

SABC chairman Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe was directed to confirm in writing within seven calendar days that Icasa’s order has been complied with.

Failure to do so could result in the public broadcaster being cautioned, fined, or its broadcasting licence revoked, so said Icasa acting chairman Rubben Mohlaloga.

He was briefing the media in Joburg today.

The Icasa ruling follows a complaint by civil society organisations who argued that the SABC had overstepped its powers by implementing the censorship policy.

“It was argued by the complainants’ legal representative that the policy of the SABC on this matter, which includes a resolution, is not only in conflict with the duties of the SABC in terms of the Broadcasting Act and its licences, but also with the constitutional principle of freedom of expression and freedom to receive information or ideas,” said Mohlaloga.

 

SOS Coalition’s Sekoetlane Phamodi said they felt vindicated by Icasa ruling. He said SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng could not continue running the broadcaster like his “spaza shop”.

The Icasa ruling follows weeks of protests outside the SABC’s Auckland Park headquarters, calling for the suspension of senior editorial staff to be lifted unconditionally, and for the disciplinary processes against them scrapped.

They had been suspended after challenging Motsoeneng’s censorship policy at the broadcaster.


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