SABC must air protests
Twitter: @City_Press or Facebook: www.facebook.com/citypress.co.za Paul Cele Richmond, KwaZulu-Natal
Allow me to comment about the SABC’s decision that, from now on, the state broadcaster will no longer televise or publicise the service-delivery protests currently engulfing the country. The decision shows how biased the SABC is towards the government.
Our people should know what is happening in every part of South Africa, and it is the duty of our public broadcaster to inform us. It must not be used by the state as its puppet. The SABC must uphold its mandate to citizens. How does it serve anyone’s interest to hide the failures of government? Our people have waited so long for their land and for proper service delivery.
They are tired of the corruption endemic in every government department as officials continue looting state resources that are meant for the poor. People are angry because they have been neglected by their leaders.
Even if the SABC does not televise public protests, it will not stop people from venting their rage.
That the SABC has imposed this ban shows how it is being controlled to serve the interests of government, but not of society in general.
The public broadcaster must reverse this decision, bring us the news unfiltered and, in so doing, focus on the interests of all South Africans, not just a few. Sidwell Tshingilane Soweto, Gauteng
Ichallenge the ANC national executive committee’s subcommittee on media-related issues to take a stand against this anti-democratic decision taken by the SABC to ban coverage of certain forms of protest.
Sanitising our national news is a disservice to the South African public who pay their TV licences.
The standard purpose of broadcasting in the public interest is to ensure that citizens stay informed. It does not dictate that the information aired be rosy, but rather that the good news be aired along with the bad.
The problem with censorship is its partisan nature. Many governments that have fallen from grace, and power, can blame their toppling on the draconian measures they put in place, which end up being used against them.
All that short-term or kneejerk solutions do is leave everyone in the dark. The violent service-delivery protests are in reaction to the structural abuse being experienced by the protesters.
Keeping them away from the glare of cameras is as short-sighted as the measures that were taken by apartheid authorities to ban journalists from covering violence in so-called unrest areas.
We cannot repeat the mistakes of the apartheid regime. This butchering of our democracy has to stop.
But what baffles me most is how a political party such as the ANC, which was barred from SABC TV and radio channels for years, can agree with such a decision.
Only in the 1990s did I first see and hear the ANC on these media platforms.