SABC denies ‘clamping down’ on ANC election coverage

SABC denies ‘clamping down’ on ANC election coverage

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has denied clamping down on the African National Congress’ (ANC) election coverage. 


The City Press reported on Sunday that the governing party accused the SABC of not fully covering some of the ruling party's election activities.


The meeting between the party's head of elections Fikile Mbalula and senior editors from the public broadcaster

took place on Friday.


Mbalula reportedly accused the SABC of 'clamping down' on some of the ANC events, using the North West provincial manifesto launch as an example.

 SABC spokesperson Neo Momodu says the public broadcaster believes its coverage of the different political parties ahead of the election is fair and balanced, and that it will continue to meet with political parties should there be a need. 


"The SABC remains resolute in its quest to providing unrestrained news content to our viewers," says Momodu.

But Media Monitoring Africa's (MMA) Thandi Smith has described Mbalula’s behaviour as unacceptable, saying he failed to follow due process. 


"It shows a consistent push for the ruling party to interfere in the public broadcaster and we seeing this time and time again. We were at the brink of launching an urgent application at the Constitutional Court just a few days ago around these issues, that was just at a governance and accountability level.


"The minute you start seeing sort of interference  from political parties at an editorial level that becomes even more of a challenge and risk. As MMA we will be monitoring coverage, not only of the SABC, but of all news media throughout the election period and if we do pick up and any insists of bias coverage or unfair coverage, we will be following the correct compliant mechanisms."

 Smith says Mbalula should have used other avenues, such as the press council, to lay a complaint.

 "If anyone has any complaint about editorial content and general content and programming across the broadcaster, there are avenues to complain about these things, we have a great press council and we need to strengthen these mechanisms because they do exist.


"If there any issues found with the content there is recourse around how to deal with it, but it does need to go through the correct mechanism."


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