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SABC to tell all about journalists’ blacklisting

BRENDAN ROANE

THE SABC was expected to reveal today what action would be taken over a 2006 scandal in which the broadcaster blacklisted journalists, according to the group that lodged the complaint against them.

Yesterday, the SABC came to an agreement with the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) at a hearing at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) in Sandton.

But the FXI would not reveal the outcome.

“… The parties want to issue a joint statement [today],” said Mbalenhle Cele, the head of FXI’s law clinic.

She confirmed that the institute had withdrawn its complaint after the agreement, as did advocate Nasreen Rajab-Budlender, acting for the FXI.

Hamilton Maenetje, SC, for the SABC, said the dispute had been resolved, while Icasa’s Paseka Maleka said that was the end of the hearing.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago confirmed that an agreement had been reached.

A Joburg high court ruling last year found that the authority was entitled to investigate the SABC’s compliance with their licence regulations.

In 2009, Icasa dismissed the FXI’s complaint because it said it did not have jurisdiction.

The complaint stems from an inquiry that found that Snuki Zikalala, the then head of SABC news and current affairs, had instructed staff not to use journalists and political commentators who opposed Thabo Mbeki.

The hearing follows another scandal at the broadcaster, when acting head of news Jimi Matthews reportedly told staff to refrain from using certain terms when talking about President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla compound.

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