The Right2Know Campaign on Monday demanded the removal of SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, saying he is unfit for the job.
Motsoeneng had been given sweeping powers to make editorial decisions — powers that he should not have — and he was a danger to the public broadcaster’s integrity and independence, Right2Know spokesman Micah Reddy said.
“We don’t want to be fed shit broadcasting and sunshine journalism all the time. We demand critical and hard-hitting journalism,” Reddy said.
A group of protesters sang songs and waved their Right2Know flags outside the SABC offices in Auckland Park on Monday morning.
Motsoeneng has recently come under fire after banning violent public protests from being broadcast on SABC TV.
“In terms of its charter, the SABC is supposed to enjoy freedom of expression and journalistic, creative and programming independence as enshrined in the constitution,” Reddy told supporters at the protest.
“The SABC is being turned into a propaganda machine for the state and the ruling party, and in recent times we have seen numerous attempts to censor content that embarrasses or is critical of the ruling elite,” Reddy said.
“Violence and destruction often accompany these protests, but it is not the role of a public broadcaster to gloss over events and try to fool audiences into believing that everything is rosy,” the Right2Know memorandum read.
The organisation and its allies further demanded the withdrawal of the revised editorial policy.
“The SABC has quietly finalised and implemented a new editorial policy, but it has failed to properly undertake the public consultation process that it laid out and is obliged to follow through on,” it read.
Reddy said it was a basic principle of ethical media practice that management should not be allowed to interfere with editorial decisions.