Johannesburg - The SA Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC’s) decision to change editorial policy and not broadcast violent protests was in conflict with the policy position of the governing party, the African National Congress (ANC) said on Tuesday.
Head of the ANC’s subcommittee on communications Jackson Mthembu said the SABC never consulted the ANC or South Africans on changing editorial policy.
“The decision has never been consulted with or condoned by the ruling party. This is worrying as it amounts to change in policy of governing party…therefore if you want to change policy and don’t consult us, that shows serious disregard for the governing party,” Mthembu told reporters in Johannesburg.
SABC banned broadcast of violent protests, drawing wide criticism from civil society and political parties. At least seven senior journalists face disciplinary action for alleged misconduct after they raised concerns over growing censorship at the broadcaster. Journalists and civil society held protests at SABC offices this week decrying the recent developments at the SABC.
Mthembu said significant policy changes, such as that made by the SABC, required public consultation before being implemented.
“This is to canvass public opinions. To the best of our knowledge these have not been done…I would know as the chief whip of the majority party if this was discussed….we are as blank as many South Africans are.”
He said the SABC did not report to the ANC, and that the ruling party did not require any help from the public broadcaster.
“We are able to represent ourselves…therefore we don’t need proxies at the SABC. As a movement, we fought for a public broadcaster with a public mandate. There is no way that the ANC can infringe on the public mandate of the SABC,” said Mthembu.
He denied allegations that the ANC “connived” with some at the SABC to undermine opposition parties.African News Agency