By Angela Quintal
An SABC radio presenter on Wednesday went public on air confirming that the broadcaster banned particular commentators and analysts from its airwaves - and that he was talking from personal experience.
This as a SABC spokesperson continued to maintain that the broadcaster had no policy blacklisting individuals and that there was merely a discussion document or proposal drafted by news management "which would assist in establishing what kind of analysts were appropriate".
In a radio interview on SAFM Morning Live, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said: "Talking to people who are relevant in SABC, they indicated to me in no uncertain terms that they have not put any blanket ban on anybody, but it is just a matter of a discussion document that is on the table and that is exactly that."
But SAFM presenter John Perlman would have none of it.
Perlman: "Mr Kganyago, it is a system that is already in practice."
Kganyango: "I don't know about that. That is why I am saying from the information I have it is only a discussion document. We mentioned in our statement yesterday that there is no way that it can be policy because policy is determined by the SABC board."
Perlman: "Mr Kganyago I can confirm to you that this is existing practice."
Kganyago: "Like I say from the information that I have, the news department people have indicated to me that this is a merely discussion document."
Perlman: "Mr Kganyago, it is happening in practice that certain people are no longer being used by SABC by instruction."
Kganyago: "Are you saying that this is from experience that has happened to you?"
Kganyago: "That is the unfortunate part, as I said I am not in the newsroom."
Perlman: "But I am."
Already in the midst of a row over the controversial canning of a documentary on President Thabo Mbeki, the SABC was forced to issue a statement on Tuesday denying allegations in the Sowetan Newspaper that it was banning "disloyal critics" from the airwaves.
However, it confirmed that a proposal was taken at a "news management meeting" to devise policy guidelines on the use of commentators.
While the SABC would not be drawn on specific individuals who had allegedly been blacklisted, it claimed the new deal had been informed by the fact that "it was clear that commentators were sometimes ill-informed, providing viewers and listeners with analysis based on facts that were either incorrect or out of date".
The Sowetan newspaper reported yesterday that four top black political commentators had been banned from the SABC's news and current affairs programmes, allegedly because they were biased on issues of the ANC succession battle.