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Complaint against SABC ‘blacklist’ withdrawn

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IOL news  sabc_oct 20

Independent Newspapers

The SABC headquarters at Auckland Park, Johannesburg File Photo: Cara Viereckl

Johannesburg -

A complaint by Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) against the SABC over the blacklisting of commentators has been withdrawn.

“Parties were engaged in a settlement agreement...and the FXI hereby withdraws its complaints,” said advocate Nasreen Rajab-Budlender, acting for FXI.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

A public hearing by the Complaints Compliance Committee (CCC) of the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) was to be heard on Monday.

The complaint was lodged in 2007 by the FXI after allegations surfaced of a 'blacklist' implemented by then group executive of news for the SABC, Snuki Zikalala.

The claims were that Zikalala instructed his staff not to use certain political commentators because of their political views on the Thabo Mbeki presidency.

These commentators held particular views on the ANC succession debate.

A commission of inquiry was then set up to investigate these allegations and found that Zikalala had given the instruction.

Based on the finding, the FXI then laid a complaint with Icasa.

It contended that the SABC violated the Broadcasting Act, the Icasa Act, the Constitution and its licence conditions by excluding commentators from commenting on the succession debate at the time.

The SABC made an application to Icasa to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that the CCC had no jurisdiction to investigate, hear and make findings on the complaint.

The CCC ruled in favour of the SABC.

The FXI then took the matter to the Johannesburg High Court, which set aside the ruling and found that Icasa did in fact have the authority to monitor the compliance of the SABC.

The matter was referred back to the CCC to investigate and come to a judgment on the matter. - Sapa


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