DA awaits judgment of BCCSA Tribunal – Phumzile van Damme

Party says it will not stand by as ANC continues to use public broadcaster as its own personal mouthpiece

DA awaits judgment of the BCCSA Tribunal

5 September 2018

Today, the DA presented its arguments in its complaint against the SABC to a Tribunal of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA), following the public broadcaster’s airing of a pre-recorded video in which ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed viewers on the failing ANC’s views on land reform and expropriation without compensation.

The DA believes that the pre-recorded broadcast, which interrupted normal programming, infringed on section 13(1) of the BCCSA Code of Conduct.

This section requires that:

In presenting a programme in which a controversial issue of public importance is discussed, a broadcaster must make reasonable efforts to fairly present opposing points of view either in the same programme or in a subsequent programme forming part of the same series of programmes presented within a reasonable period of time of the original broadcast and within substantially the same time slot”.

During the hearing, the SABC did not deny that the content of the broadcast of the ANC President contained “controversial issues of public importance”, and therefore Clause 13(1) applied.

Therefore, they ought to have adhered to the requirements set out in section 13(1) of the Code, and could not explain sufficiently, in our opinion, why they did not follow its requirements.

We believe the SABC failed in this regard by allowing the ANC an opportunity to present its views in a manner that was both qualitatively and quantitatively superior to the opportunity subsequently offered to the DA.

To remedy the situation, the DA has requested that the BCCSA reprimand, give the DA the equal opportunity it gave the ANC and that the SABC air the BCCSA’s ruling.

The BCCSA has endeavoured to give its judgement within two or three weeks.

The DA will not stand by as the failing ANC administration continues to use the public broadcaster as its own personal mouthpiece, as the Zuma administration did.

The SABC must remain impartial and provide balanced reporting and the DA will stop at nothing to ensure that the public broadcaster informs citizens without fear or favour.

Issued by Phumzile Van DammeDA Shadow Minister of Communications, 5 September 2018