Canning SAFM current affairs show ‘another form of censorship’
Cape Town – The SABC’s decision to take the long-running SAFM programme “The Editors” off air was an act of blatant censorship by the public broadcaster in the run-up to the August local government elections, the opposition Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday.
“Censorship at the SABC ahead of the local government election has reached crisis proportions,” DA communications spokeswoman Phumzile van Damme said.
SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago has denied that there was any ulterior motive to canning the Sunday morning show, on which media editors discussed current affairs, after 20 years, saying it was merely done because radio programming needed to be dynamic.
But the move has drawn criticism, including from Media Monitoring Africa.
Van Damme claimed that the SABC, under the controversial direction of chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, wanted to spare government a weekly critique of its failings ahead of polls in which it is expected to shed votes.
“The programme has been a bone of contention for the ANC for many years, as its poor record as a governing party is often discussed. Through the years the ANC has attempted to have the show canned, and failed,” she said.
“Now that Hlaudi Motsoeneng is at the helm at the SABC, the ANC has succeeded in doing so.”
She said the DA would ask Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications to demand a briefing by the SABC’s senior management, despite the legislature being in recess until after the elections.
The decision to can “The Editors” follows a recent decision by the SABC to stop screening footage of violent protests and the axing of Vuyo Mvoko’s “On The Record” talk show, allegedly because he was preparing to host a discussion on the influence of the Gupta family on executive decisions.African News Agency