With a number of pressing issues on her agenda, one would think communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams wouldn’t have time to try to censor the SABC, a key and strategic institution under her care. Yet there she was this weekend, at an ANC manifesto launch in KwaBhaca, Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape, trying to block a SABC video journalist from filming footage of protesters at the event. The demonstrators were reportedly frustrated at the lack of service delivery in the area. Her attempt at stifling media freedom was a stark reminder that the governing party still sees the institution as a government mouthpiece, rather than a public broadcaster. Her actions are arguably insignificant in comparison to what’s happened at other recent meetings in the Eastern Cape where protests broke out. The arrest of human rights lawyer Richard Spoor at a community meeting in Xolobeni that was hosted by mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe in September 2018 is one example; a subsequent ...

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