The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has ordered the South African Broadcasting Corporation to withdraw its decision not to broadcast violent protest footage.
This followed a complaint by the Media Monitoring Project Benefit Trust, Support Public Broadcasting Coalition, and Freedom of Expression.
ICASA further ordered the chairperson of the SABC board to confirm within 7 days that the decision has been reversed.
The complaint was related to a media statement released by the SABC that it will no longer broadcast footage of the destruction of public property during protests.
Broadcast ban at the SABC
In May, the SABC said it will no longer show violent protests on any of its channels in a bid to “educate the population”, and send a message that violent action will not get the attention it seeks.
SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng called it a “bold move”, and said it was in line with the broadcaster’s mandate of educating the nation.
Motsoeneng said the broadcaster will show that violent protests are not necessary, adding that “as a responsible public institution, we will not assist these individuals to push their agenda that seeks media attention”.
The SABC did not detail what constitutes “violent” protests, but said it will not show footage of public property being destroyed.
The broadcaster said it upheld citizens’ right to protest, but that the decision not to air the destruction of state property would encourage citizens to protest peacefully.