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Protea Boekhuis

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SABC Unfair Reporting Case: Kobus van Rooyen, Nic Dawes and Media Monitoring Africa Weigh In

A South African Censor's TaleKobus van Rooyen, the chair of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa and author of A South African Censor’s Tale, has expressed concern about the SABC‘s refusal to comply with a BCCSA ruling on unfair reporting by the state broadcaster.

Earlier this year the BCCSA ruled that the SABC had to broadcast an apology after airing allegations of corruption against Mail & Guardian journalist Sam Sole, following his report on irregularities involving high-profile businessman Robert Gumede. The SABC unsuccessfully appealed the ruling and has now taken the matter to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa. It is also reported that the SABC threatened to withdraw from the BCCSA.

“This is the first time a broadcaster has done something like this,” Van Rooyen said. Media Monitoring Africa, as well as the Mail & Guardian‘s editor Nic Dawes, have warned that the SABC’s actions could threaten media freedom:

The latest in the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s fight against the BCCSA ruling on unfair reporting in favour of the Mail & Guardian has seen Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) warning on Monday that the issue could pose a serious threat to media freedom in South Africa.

MMA has added its voice to the call for action against the broadcaster in the face of a damning Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) ruling on unfair reporting.

The refusal of the SABC to abide by a ruling of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) in favour of the Mail & Guardian is unprecedented and could threaten the system of statutory self-regulation in the broadcast sector.

That is one thing all the parties seem to agree on.

In March the SABC was ordered to broadcast during prime time television news a summary of the BCCSA’s finding that it contravened the Broadcast Code of Conduct when it made unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against the M&G reporter Sam Sole and failed to provide an adequate right of reply.

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