News channel eNCA accused of censoring Independent Media’s Dr Iqbal Survé

Independent Media executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Independent Media executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 6, 2022


Pretoria - Television news channel eNCA has been questioned about its failure to post an interview with Independent Media executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé on its Power to Truth programme, presented by Professor Onkgopotse JJ Tabane a week ago.

The channel failed to respond to questions sent to marketing boss Vimla Frank on why, a week after the interview with Survé, the interview was not posted on the eNCA website despite other episodes going online immediately after they were aired.

The failure to post the episode has raised questions about editorial censorship and bias at the station, fuelling suspicions of political interference that affects media freedom.

Sources inside the broadcaster said the decision not to post the interview was believed to have come from eNCA bosses allegedly close to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, who were heavily criticised in the interview.

During the show Survé expressed disappointment at Ramaphosa’s presidency and said Gordhan only had an interest in seeing his consortium of businesses, including Sekunjalo Investments, shut down because he did not “toe the line”.

He said during the interview: “I may have supported the ANC historically. I’m not sure going forward. I believe in our democracy, but most importantly I believe in accountability.

“I believe in the emancipation of our people. If I believe the leadership of the ANC is not capable of emancipating our people then I have to find a new political home.

“Ramaphosa is disappointed, but at the end of the day it is in the hands of the electorate of the ANC; they are the members of the ANC.”

These are the comments that could have sparked refusals not to post the interview.

Survé commented on the failure of the station to post the show, tweeting: “It is now almost a week after my interview with JJ Tabane on Survé. The response to the interview has been tremendous.

“Now eNCA bosses are refusing to upload the interview on YouTube. They must fear the truth and what I said. #Media censorship.”

Questioned by Independent media if there was any truth to the assertions that the broadcaster’s bosses were behind the censorship, chairman of eMedia holdings which owns eTV Johnny Copelyn rejected the claims.

“I was not aware of any aspect of this matter until I received your email. Upon enquiry I have now established that the output editor took the decision in the ordinary course of his decision making. No hurt was intended and the decision was based on the technical quality of the live input.”

Frank did not respond to an email sent to her over the weekend.

It’s not the first time eNCA has been accused of censorship and bias.

Last year its editorial team lifted the lid on allegations of news coverage bias by management at the 24-hour news channel.

Staff leaked an internal memo to the Pretoria News claiming that management stopped journalists from going live during former president Jacob Zuma’s press briefing in July.

Zuma was addressing the media after the Constitutional Court sentenced him to 15 months in prison for contempt of court after he refused to testify before the commission of inquiry into state capture.

In 2019 the then head of news at the station Kanthan Pillay was accused of censoring news after suspending journalist Khayelihle Khumalo for tweeting about that year’s EFF conference despite the station’s decision not to continue covering the event.

At the time of publishing the AEditor’s Forum had yet to comment.

On its website, it stated: “South Africa’s senior print, magazine, broadcast and online media journalists responsible for editorial decisions and media educators have formed an association – the SA National Editors’ Forum and its members commit themselves to defend and promote media freedom and independence.”

Pretoria News