I never caused Special Assignments episode to be aired: Magopeni

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Head of News Phatiswa Magopeni says she never caused a  Special Assignment episode to be aired, nor did she go against the interdict.

Magopeni has been charged with misconduct, negligence and bringing the public broadcaster into disrepute.

The matter relates to the airing of a Special Assignment episode on SABC3 which the SABC had been interdicted from broadcasting.

When asked by her legal team during the disciplinary process why the episode was not removed from the system entirely, Magopeni responded by saying, “Firstly the instruction we got was that the episode was interdicted and there was no further instruction that it needed to be deleted from the system. But the fundamental thing was that the instruction wouldn’t come from me because I operate from a system that comes from editorial policies that prohibits my direct interference or direct instructions from the office I occupy.”

“To the extent that producers and executive producers, editors and commissioning editors that would be video edutainment, have full responsibility for producing content and ensuring editorial controls. In my role, I can’t and do not give direct instructions to the newsroom.”

Disciplinary Hearing of SABC News Head Phathiswa Magopeni:

Court order

On Monday, Head of Output News Mlunghisi Shivamba who was Editor of Free-to-Air TV News and Current Affairs at the time the episode aired testified that the news department ensured it obliged the court order by finding a replacement episode.

He said the onus to ensure the airing of the correct episode lied with final control under the technical division and not with News.

“And also to see that we have put on the FCC sheet corresponds with what is in the tape. So, for them to simply look into an FCC sheet and conclude it corresponds and press a button, it’s very reckless of them. Because they need to account as a platform that this FCC sheet is what has been fed or loaded in their system. They do not have a right to just take an FCC sheet and think it suffices to put something on air,” said Shivamba.