Press Statement: SABC Court Case

Anele | Jul 14, 2016
Press Statement: Update on the SABC court case.
On Friday, 1 July 2016,  the Helen Suzman Foundation ("HSF")  launched an urgent application against the SABC, its Board of Directors, the Minister of Communications and Hlaudi Motsoeneng.  
 
The HSF seeks urgent relief interdicting the implementation of the SABC's policy and practice not to cover violent and other protests, as well as relief preventing the SABC from adopting or implementing any censorship policy which would be contrary to the mandate of the public broadcaster.  The HSF seeks the above relief to operate on an interim basis,  pending the final determination either of the review proceedings launched by the HSF (reviewing and setting aside the SABC's editorial policies as described above), or the final determination of the proceedings against the SABC and Motsoeneng initially heard by ICASA (the public broadcaster's regulator and an institution under chapter 9 of the Constitution). 
 
The opposing respondents (which include the SABC, Hlaudi Motsoeneng (Chief Operating Officer) and Professor Maguvhe (Chairperson)) ("the opposing respondents") have missed the deadline of 11 July 2016 for the filing of answering papers as stipulated in the notice of motion.  To date, and despite numerous undertakings that they would do so,  the opposing respondents have not filed any answering papers. 
 
The urgent interdict proceedings are set down to be heard on 19 July 2016 in the Gauteng Division of the High Court, Pretoria. 
 
As public broadcaster, the SABC is obliged properly to cover events of national and public importance,  including political protests and news which accurately reports on the President or any political party.  It is impermissible for the SABC to distort or refuse to cover important news, as a result of political partisanship or otherwise.  More worryingly, it appears that the censorship in this case is politically motivated in the run up to the 2016 local government elections.
 
The HSF believes in an open and democratic society,  which includes the protection of the rights to freedom of expression, a free press, vote and freely to receive information.  Censorship, by the public broadcaster no less, strikes at the very heart of these rights and threatens our constitutional democracy.
 
Media Enquiries:
Helen Suzman Foundation: 011 482 2872
Francis Antonie: francis@hsf.org.za/ 083 408 7943
Kimera Chetty: kimera@hsf.org.za/ 072 402 4099
Matthew Kruger: matthew@hsf.org.za/ 072 861 2776