A lack of professionalism in journalism and absent in political policy for news and poor lack of language use were some of the issues highlighted at the SABC’s editorial policy review on public consultation in Bloemfontein in Free State and Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.
Some participants challenged the public broadcaster to vindicate its impartiality slogan.
The public broadcaster is on course to amend its editorial policy. This is in line with its mandate of being inclusive of all its stakeholders.
SABC manager for regulatory affairs, Judy Monyela says the current editorial policy was last reviewed in 2004. Monyela says its imperative for the public broadcaster to engage the public as it seeks to make amendment to its editorial policy.
“The next step from here is to analyse all submissions, submit to our Board for approval. Thereafter we will file with ICASA for compliance mainly because we are a public broadcaster and exists for members of the public. And the law further says we need to be responsive to the needs of our audience. So whatever that we broadcast on our radio or television platforms has to be approved by members of the public.”
Participants both in Free State and Eastern Cape were not shy to air their views during the consultation process.
“It would serve the interest of the country bests if SABC could stick to those policies of being impartial and independent in their coverage of news and take political sides so that we have a public broadcaster that becomes a public broadcaster instead of being a propaganda machinery of a particular click. If SABC can just do us favour to protect our children because the drugs is just destroying our children. We can talk to them but when they see it on TV, it’s another story,” explains one person.
“My issue will be for example we have event such as the Nelson Mandela International where I would classify as a day of national importance. Fair enough would have the SABC TV and cover the event. Interms of radio we find ourselves as government having to procure space in order to get coverage in radio so we need to clearly define in terms of broadcasting of national events, what are those that are classified as developmental information for the public and what are those that as government we then have to procure,” says another participant.
SABC’s Group Public Affairs manager, Ayanda Makaula says the concerns will be incorporated into the public broadcaster’s final draft policy.
“What’s important to note is that members of the public not only focused on specific policies, but they focused on all of the policies which will allow the editorial team to consolidate those views and those inputs that have been made in order to incorporate into the final policy. So for us it’s been a privilege to not only come here to hear their views, but also to just ascertain and also to find out how important the SABC is to members of the public.”
The consultation process will then move to Khayelitsha in Cape Town on Friday with the final date of hearings at Auckland Park in Gauteng scheduled for July 31.
The public broadcaster says the overwhelming number of complaints about alleged bias in news content has given birth to an Ombudsman.
The SABC says the Ombudsman will not overrule the BCCSA’s decisions but will deal directly with complaints pertaining to news content.
“Have your FINAL SAY, the SABC has issued the draft editorial policies for FINAL comment by interested parties following consultation with members of the public. The closing date is 31 JULY 2018.
The draft editorial policies are available on the SABC Website for downloading at www.sabc.co.za/editorialpolicy or contact Call Centre at 011 714 9111 / 9797 or FAX at 011 714 4508
Hard copies are also available from all our SABC offices in the 9 Provinces.
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