The SABC office in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.  Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
The SABC office in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

The SABC has called on the public to participate in reviewing six policies that have been implemented since 2004.

This comes after the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) approved recommendations to nullify the SABC’s editorial policies of 2016‚ which banned the airing of footage of violent protests.

The decision meant that the SABC needed to revert to its 2004 editorial policy.

"We are today launching the review project of the SABC’s editorial policies," SABC interim chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama said on Thursday. "The process of the policies is to resuscitate the consultation process with the public following Icasa’s complaints and compliance committee that the SABC had not complied with the requirement of section 6 of the Broadcasting Act of 1999." The six policies pertain to news editorial‚ programming‚ local content‚ language‚ religion and universal service.

Khweyama said all nine provinces would be visited in order to afford communities an opportunity to contribute through oral and written submissions.

The public will be informed about the schedules and venues of the hearings through radio stations and the deadline for the submissions is August 31.

Khweyama said all input from the public would be consolidated and would inform a revised Editorial Code and Policies document‚ which would then be released for public comment before being finalised.

In May 2016‚ controversial former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng announced that the state-owned entity would no longer air footage of the destruction of public property during violent protests‚ claiming this would prevent others from doing the same.

In July 2017, Icasa instructed the SABC to reverse its decision following a complaint lodged in October 2016 by the SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition and Media Monitoring Africa.

Motsoeneng has since been found guilty after facing disciplinary charges over a media conference he held in April, during which he criticised the interim SABC board for planning to scrap the 90% local music policy he had set up.

Khweyama said the board would still go ahead with this reversal, regardless of the public participation outcomes.

Motsoeneng was replaced at the SABC after a damning Parliamentary ad hoc committee report found that the previous board had mismanaged the public broadcaster‚ leading to the loss of hundreds of millions of rand.

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