In the wake of Icasa’s ruling that the SABC was wrong to not show violent protests the broadcaster’s COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng has stated flatly that the SABC is not going to change anything.
“We as SABC are not going to be influenced by people outside or internally. We will deal with the issues of the SABC as per the processes in the organisation,” Motsoeneng said. “No-one is going to tell us what to do within our organisation. And we as SABC, we are on track, we as the SABC are not apologetic on the issues that we believe on.”
He might have also single-handed brought an old word into the everyday lexicon.
“And I want to deal with the issue of this hullabaloo, because it is still a hullabaloo,” Motsoeneng added. “When people talk about censorship, I don’t know what the SABC is censoring.”
“Myself and Kaizer [Kganyago, SABC spokesman], we explained several times that certain visuals, we are not going to show them. And actually, if you talk about censorship, I think all news room, they censor stories every day. Maybe in a newsroom, maybe we also need to say ‘why are we not seeing good news stories?'”[sic]
He said that if newsrooms make a decision not to talk about good news, that is the same as censorship.
“If you are not showing good stories, what do you call it? It is not a censorship? I think it is. I think in a newsroom they censor news every day, every time,” he said. “But when it comes to the SABC, it is censorship.”
Further on, he reiterated that the SABC explained how the broadcaster had covered the recent protests in Tshwane – sans visuals, of course.
“We have taken an editorial decision, like any newsroom in the organisation. We have never said that we are not going to show those visuals,” he said. “Let’s talk about Tshwane – after this hullabaloo. The SABC broke that story. We showed those visuals – the only thing that we couldn’t show was the physicality of the events.”
“So I don’t know why people what to dictate to the SABC. But we as SABC are clear on what we are doing – we still believe that we are still within the Broadcasting Act, we are within the regulations.”
“It is how people translate and interpret English. So those are the debate, but we as SABC, we are not stopping here. If there are issues with the Icasa ruling, we are challenging that ruling so that if we need to go to the Constitutional Court, that is where the matter will end.
Ending his first talking spree at the podium, he once again defiantly said that the SABC will not change its policy.
“We are not going to change anything – people should forget. Newspapers can come together, Right2Know (R2K), everybody, we invite you to do that. We are equal to task.”