11 April 2014

South Africa: DA Requests Investigation By Inspector General of Intelligence Into Tapping of Sabc Journalists' Phones

press release

The DA will request that the Inspector General of Intelligence, Adv Faith Radebe, investigate reports that SABC journalists' phones are being tapped.

The tapping of phones is in violation of section 14 of our Constitution that states, "Everyone has the right to privacy, which includes the right not to have the privacy of their communications infringed."

According to reports, SABC Chairperson Ellen Tshabalala allegedly said that SABC journalists' phones are being tapped because the broadcaster is a National Key Point.

Furthermore, she reportedly said that SABC journalists must respect the governing party.

This is a further indication that Ms Tshabalala misunderstands her role as non-executive chairperson of the public broadcaster. Last month she told the crowd at a rally in KwaMashu that they should not vote for opposition parties on May 7.

Now, she is clearly using bullying tactics to ensure that SABC journalists toe the party line and promote an ANC agenda.

This just lends further credibility to Project Kindle, the SABC-commissioned market research report, that said the majority of respondents felt that the SABC's news is biased towards the ANC and that South Africans test the accuracy of SABC news against other outlets and social media platforms.

The DA has also witnessed the bias of the SABC first-hand.

The DA recently received notice from the SABC that it is removing the DA's 'Ayisafani' television commercial from the airwaves. We can assume it is due to the SABC wanting to shield President Jacob Zuma from further negative publicity.

State security intelligence personnel are also reportedly stationed at Luthuli House to 'vet' ANC candidates, and are also being utilised to stop booers at ANC events.

It appears that the ANC is co-opting state intelligence agencies to influence media coverage and the outcome of the election.

The SABC has shown time and time again that it is not concerned with fair and objective reporting, and is more focused on promoting the 'good news' agenda of the ANC.

The level of censorship has stooped to an all-time low, by the national broadcaster trying to intimidate and violate the constitutional rights of journalists.

These allegations must be investigated. The South African public cannot be kept in the dark about the levels of corruption and maladministration within President Zuma's ANC.

Marian Shinn, Shadow Minister of Communications

South Africa

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