An independent probe into allegations of editorial interference has found that Karima Brown was not balanced when she made allegations of a patronage network. Picture: Dimpho Maja African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - An independent probe into allegations of censorship and editorial interference has found that veteran journalist and former talk show host on Talk Radio 702 Karima Brown was not balanced when she made allegations of a patronage network. 

Brown, had breached provisions of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission code of South Africa, the report found.

The report is compiled by Terry Motau SC and is regarding a supply chain agreement between MultiChoice and the SABC.

The investigation and the eventual report, released by Primedia which owns 702 amongst other radio stations, was a result of a complaint of editorial interference and censorship laid by Brown against 702 station manager Thabisile Mbete.

According to the report, the complaint stems from a November 2018 show in which Brown made allegations about Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Minister, former SABC board member Mathatha Tsedu, former SABC spokesperson Neo Momodu and veteran journalist Joe Thloloe.

The report says that Mbete, following her receiving several complaints about the show, summoned Brown to a meeting in which she told Brown that the allegations she had made about the individuals were unfair and that they had not been given adequate right of reply.

Mbete, the report says, then instructed Brown that the affected individuals be given an opportunity to reply in a subsequent broadcast. 

Amongst allegations that Brown made against the five was that Calvo Mawela, Multichoice CEO, was Mantashe’s “son in law” after saying that Multichoice had offered to digitise the ANC’s archives, something Brown said was “quite a big favour that you’re doing the ruling party”.  

The report says that she further stated that: “Of course you cannot blame people for who they marry and in which families they marry, but these links are insidious so they are not to be ignored, because we know how power works, it does not always manifest in formal minutes, in memos, paper trails,” Brown said.

Brown’s contract with Primedia, where she hosted the Karima Brown Show, lapsed in July and she lodged the complaint two days later. 

News24 reported that Brown called the report a cover up because the station had the opportunity to institute disciplinary action when Mbete laid the complaint against her.

“I was never informed about any disciplinary action, and I was never informed about the reasons why management did not discipline me. I only found this out when the inquiry was on,” News24 reported Brown saying. 

In June Brown won a court case against the EFF after she had taken the party to court following her receiving death and rape threats, allegedly by supporters of the EFF, after the party’s leader Julius Malema had published her number on Twitter. The stand off had kicked off after Malema had accused Brown of sending “moles” to an EFF campaign meeting in Ekurhuleni. 

Political Bureau