The SABC late on Thursday said it will, with immediate effect, no longer broadcast “destructive and regressive” footage of public violence that involves the burning of public institutions such as schools in its news bulletins.
“We are not going to provide publicity to such actions that are destructive and regressive,” the broadcaster said in a statement.
The corporation’s chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, said: “It is regrettable that these actions are disrupting many lives and as a responsible public institution we will not assist these individuals to push their agenda that seeks media attention.
“As a public service broadcaster, we have a mandate to educate the citizens, and we therefore have taken this bold decision to show that violent protests are not necessary.
“We would like to encourage citizens to protest peacefully without destroying the very same institutions that are needed to restore their dignity.”
The broadcaster said that if were to continue to “promote” scenes in which public buildings are destroyed by protesters, this “might encourage other communities to do the same”.
“The SABC would like to stress that we will continue to cover news without fear or favour. We will not cover people who are destroying public property,” it said in the statement.
“The SABC is cognisant of the fact that citizens have constitutional rights to protest and voice their concerns on various issues that they are not happy with, but we also do not believe that destruction of property is the best way to voice those grievances,” it added.
“These actions are regrettable and viewed as regressive [in relation to] the developments made after 22 years of South Africa’s democracy.”
The corporation appealed to other broadcasters and the print media to “stand in solidarity” with it by “not covering the violent protests that are on the rise and in turn destroying public institutions”. — (c) 2016 NewsCentral Media