AfriForum to Motsoeneng: We have the right to know
29 June 2016
AfriForum today announced that the organisation is launching a national petition for the resignation of Hlaudi Motsoeneng, Chief Operating Officer of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), and that the organisation instructed its legal team to investigate options for legal action against Motsoeneng. The civil rights watchdog made this announcement during an awareness action regarding media freedom at the headquarters of the SABC in Johannesburg.
This follows after Motsoeneng recently announced that the television stations of the national broadcaster will immediately stop broadcasting footage of the destruction of property during protest marches. He furthermore announced that radio stations are forbidden from using specific editors and media people from outside the SABC as commentators regarding internal SABC affairs and from broadcasting negative coverage about Pres Jacob Zuma.
“Newspapers or broadcasters that obscure negativity cannot be taken seriously in a democracy, seeing as citizens cannot make informed decisions without credible information. It is a violation of the public’s basic human rights as contained in the Constitution,” says Monique Taute, AfriForum’s National Campaign Coordinator.
According to Taute, the Constitution guarantees everyone’s right to freedom of expression, including freedom of the press and the freedom to receive information. “AfriForum’s legal team is currently investigating the possibility of taking legal steps against Motsoeneng, seeing as he is busy violating these constitutional rights.”
Taute furthermore says that the SABC is the most prominent news organisation with the largest service area in the country. “Millions of people keep up-to-date of matters by making use of its TV news bulletins and radio broadcasts. This news must be presented in a fair, unbiased, balanced way and independent of government, commercial and other interests. The news should furthermore be fair to the public in that various perspectives should be aired in the public interest.”
The public can assist AfriForum in trying to remove Motsoeneng by participating in a national petition. As soon as a person signs the petition, an email will automatically be sent to Motsoeneng, demanding his resignation.
Issued by Monique Taute, National Campaign Coordinator, AfriForum, 29 June 2016