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SABC can breathe again

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The Independent Communications Authority of SA has given the SABC a two-day reprieve to respond to allegations of censorship levelled against it by lobby group Media Monitoring Africa.

The lobby group wrote to Icasa in an attempt to force the public broadcaster to reverse its decision not to show footage of violent service-delivery protests.

It argued that the decision to ban violent protests was unlawful and in violation of the Broadcasting Act, the SABC’s licence conditions and its revised editorial policies.

“The complaint came last week Wednesday and we had only Friday to work on it because of the holiday on Thursday. So we requested an extension and it was granted,” SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said.

He said reports the SABC had decided to ban protests were incorrect. “The media should go back and read the statement correctly. The SABC said it will no longer show footage of protesters destroying property,” he said.

Icasa’s extension – to tomorrow – came as Right2Know organised protests at SABC offices in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

At the same time SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng waxed lyrical about the broadcaster’s plan to ensure 90% of all television content was locally produced.

Protesters to picket SABC over protest footage ban

Changes to programming could result in the SABC dumping popular international shows such as The Bold and The Beautiful. Days of Our Lives ends in mid-July.

Speaking in Durban yesterday, Motsoeneng said he was unconcerned by calls for his resignation made by Right2Know protesters.

“Right2Know has a right to protest. It’s not our business. We’re sticking to our decision and that’s all I’m prepared to say,” Motsoeneng said.

He told film and television producers that from July 1 the SABC would only keep ”best-performing” soapies. But he would not elaborate on which would be chopped.

He said the SABC would spend R600-million on local content. From November, it would screen a programme scripted, produced and presented by disabled people.

“Everything in that programme has been done by disabled people in the industry. It’s something that we’re proud of.”

[Source: Times Live]
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