SABC must air protests

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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.

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