Johannesburg – The chairman of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board on Monday maintained that the public broadcaster was right in banning footage of violent protests after the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) ordered that the editorial directive be reversed.
Board chairman Mbulaheni Maguvhe told reporters in Johannesburg that he was not surprised by the Icasa decision.
“I was on my way here when I heard about the ruling over the news that the ruling went against us. I wasn’t surprised… its not because I did not believe in what we have done, but that is how things are in our country these days, but I would not elaborate any further,” said Maguvhe.
“I still believe that were right and I maintain were right. We never imposed a blanket ban on visuals, because if it was a blanket ban you would not see anything… it is a veiled ban.”
He said the board would refer the ruling to the SABC legal team and then take a decision on the matter.
“Between now and the five days, we are going to engage the legal team. If their advice say we should take this further for review with the relevent authorities such as the high court and the Constitutional Court, we will do so,” he said.
Maguvhe was in fact given seven days by the communications authority to respond in writing to the directive to reverse the controversial editorial decision taken two months ago.
In May SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng banned the airing of footage showing the destruction of state property. He motivated it by saying such visuals would incite more violence, but opposition parties and civil rights groups said it was censorship.
The matter was brought to ICASA by SOS – a coalition which campaigns for “public broadcasting in the public interest”. The body said the ruling had a direct bearing on SABC staffers who were suspended for opposing the ban.