SABC open line ban unlawful

Published On February 29, 2016 | By SOS Coordinator | Media / Press Release, News

SOS Support Public Broadcasting Campaign is calling for an urgent investigation into whether SABC management ordered staff to drop open call-in lines until after the elections, as reported in the Sunday Times. If this allegation is true, then SABC would be acting in violation of the constitution, its broadcasting licences and enabling legislation.

Open radio call lines are a popular form of public expression across broadcasting stations and any instruction to suspend these should be treated very seriously by all who support freedom of expression and accountable public broadcasting.

The SABC cannot claim that unilaterally dropping open lines is to promote free and fair elections. An election period has not yet been declared and ICASA, not the SABC, is responsible for determining rules on party political broadcasting during election periods. These rules will apply to broadcasters and political parties and not to the views expressed by members of the public calling into radio stations.

The SOS Coalition represents a broad spectrum of civil society stakeholders committed to the broadcasting of quality, diverse, citizen-orientated public-interest programming aligned to the goals of the SA Constitution. The Coalition includes a number of trade union federations including COSATU and FEDUSA, a number of independent unions including BEMAWU and MWASA; independent film and TV production sector organisations including the South African Screen Federation (SASFED); a host of NGOs and CBOs including the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI), Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), SECTION27 and a number of academics and freedom of expression activists.

For more information contact:
Michael Markovitz
SOS Working Group member
083 260 0889

Thandi Smith
SOS Chairperson
073 470 7306

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About The Author

Duduetsang is an avid digital media lover and lifelong scholar who is fascinated by the dynamic media space. Duduetsang had her formal training in television journalism at the University currently known as Rhodes, and has various experiences in broadcast media production and corporate communications. She completed her MBA in Media Management at Cardiff University. Her activist discontents include socio-economic and gender based inequality and sexual violence while her intellectual interests lie in media strategy, policy and development in the convergent, digital era, especially in the African context. She joined SOS as a Project Coordinator and recently took over as the National Coordinator.

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