How SABC News misled the public
The issue of whether or not the deal between Pay-tv provider MultiChoice and the SABC should be regarded as a “merger” was taken up in Parliament. The deal involving the two broadcasters has been heavily criticised by the broadcasters’ competitors and civil society.
Both MultiChoice and the SABC have however rejected these allegations.
On 22 April SABC Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng and his team presented the SABC’s strategic plan and budget for the new financial year. Where Parliament heard how the SABC was losing viewers and advertisers.
When Motsoeneng and Communications Minister Faith Muthambi were asked at this meeting, “What about this Multichoice deal? What’s happening there?”, Motsoeneng explained that the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) referred a complaint about the deal to the Competition Commission in 2014. This was then withdrawn in November 2014 on the basis of insufficient and, therefore, misleading information.
Media company Caxton, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) and SOS subsequently referred a similar complaint to the Competition Tribunal. The proceedings of that complaint are still underway.
In the news that same day, the bulletin reports on Caxton, SOS and MMA as leading an assault against the SABC and that the matter was thrown out on the basis of misleading information.
According to the three parties, there is a clear manipulation of the facts to
- a) Slander the three parties who made an application to the Tribunal against this deal, and
- b) Blatantly mislead the public about what happened in Parliament on that day.