Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) has lodged a formal complaint with Icasa over the SABC’s ban on violent protest footage across its news and current affairs bulletins.

The South African media watchdog lodged the complaint together with the SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition (SOSA) and the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) late yesterday afternoon.

“We believe the decision to be unlawful and in clear violation of the Broadcasting Act, the SABC’s licence conditions and the SABC’s revised editorial policies,” William Bird, Director of MMA said in a statement.

“The SABC seems dead set against the possibility of changing their mind, which is why we have opted to go the route of a legal challenge to the Complaints Compliance Committee,” he said.

Bird added that, given the gravity of the issue, MMA would’ve hoped for a clearly argued principle backed up by strong supporting evidence for the drastic decision, instead all the SABC has given is have hubris and confusion.

“As the FXI, we too are concerned about the impact the decision will have for ordinary South Africans and their right to freedom of expression and access to information,” added Sheniece Linderboom Head of the FXI Law Clinic. “Not only does the banning take us back to an SABC of the 80’s, it is also afundamentally  flawed reasoning.”

The DA had initially said it’s considering taking the public broadcaster to court, but has instead said it is supporting civil society in the broadcast sector “who have fully seized the matter”.

The MMA asked that the matter be heard by Icasa on urgently, seeing as the ban was exacted with immediate effect.

[Source – MMA, image – CC Wikimedia Commons]