12 November 2012

South Africa: Blacklisting Settlement - FXI Must Keep a Close Eye On SABC

press release

The DA welcomes the clarity from the FXI and the SABC on the details of the settlement agreement which led to the withdrawal of the enquiry by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) into the blacklisting of commentators by the SABC.

The commitments that the SABC has made to adhere to its licensing conditions and policies must be monitored closely by the FXI and other civic bodies that champion freedom of the media from political interference in news and current affairs programmes.

These commitments have been in place at the SABC for years but were clearly breached at the time leading up to the blacklisting revelations. The political environment then was not much different from what it is now as the ANC factions compete for leadership positions at Mangaung at year end and as the ANC prepares to contests the 2014 general election.

We need to see top management at SABC practice what they preach in their policies and not give in to the temptation to unquestioningly promote the vested interests of ANC factions.

Accurate and fair reporting by the SABC on the activities and policies of all political players is critical if South Africans are to make informed decisions about our future.

We would also like to see now a public commitment by ICASA to vigorously honour its role as the independent watchdog of the broadcasting industry and not shirk its responsibility as it did when the FXI first approached it to investigate the SABC blacklist.

Marian Shinn, DA Spokesperson on Communications

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