The SABC calls for public comment on its editorial policies

The South African Broadcasting Corporation is asking the public to make submissions and comments on its editorial policies

Speaking at the launch of the editorial policies review project on Thursday, Interim Board Chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama said: “This project is intended at making sure that the public is properly consulted and that the final policies that will emanate from the process are compliant, legitimate and reflective of South Africa’s views and sentiments [sic].”

In 2003, Kweyama said the SABC developed editorial policies following the amendment of the Broadcasting Act of 1999. Those policies were amended and developed through a public consultation process that took place across the country.

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“In 2013, the SABC started a process to review the editorial policies, which then culminated in the 2016 policies that were filed with Icasa. However, when those policies were lodged in 2016, there were a number of organisations and members of the public who raised objections with Icasa. They felt that they were not properly consulted,” she said.

Kweyama said the main complaint was that the SABC had allegedly failed to adhere to section 6.6 of the Broadcasting Act regarding public participation.

“There was inadequate public consultation in the adoption of the 2016 amended editorial policies. Icasa ruled in favour of the complainants.”

As a result of this ruling, the broadcaster was forced to revert to the 2004 editorial policies.

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This means that the SABC is currently governed by the 2004 editorial policies until it conducts the proper public consultation process, amends the policies, gets approval from the board, and then submits the final draft to Icasa.