SABC Responds To Media Statement By SACP

JUST IN: The SABC has swiftly reacted to calls from the South African Communist Party on the government and Parliament to take drastic action against the SABC for allegedly blacking out its yearly Red October launch at the weekend.

The public broadcaster was hit by multiple blackouts this past weekend which saw SABC1, SABC2, SABC3, SABC News on MultiChoice's DStv as well as SABC radio stations go dark for an hour on Saturday, and again on Sunday.

The SACP in turn alluded to this being sabotage to stop the broadcaster from airing their Red October campaign. 

The party accused the public broadcaster of incompetence and allowing “interference by forces” in its internal editorial policy.

The party said it was aggrieved that a “presenter voice-over was used along with newsmaker images without audio” to cover the event during Sunday’s news bulletin.

SACP spokesman Alex Mashilo added that the voice-over, which he said was interrupted, was repeated on the SABC’s 24 news channel, 404.

Now the SABC in a statement I have just received, tells their side of the story; 
Johannesburg, Tuesday 07 October 2014 – The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has noted with concern the media statement released by the South African Communist Party (SACP), regarding the so-called ‘Black on-air’ of their Red October campaign. The SABC rejects with the contempt it deserves the allegation that the Corporation intentionally did a black out of their story. 
In fact many of the SACP’s stories are carried on our TV and Radio platforms. It must be highlighted that this particular story was covered on our radio news bulletins and current affairs shows. 
It must also be noted that the SACP was in contact with the SABC, and we explained that there was a technical glitch, yet they have still chosen to release the said media statement. We can only wonder what their motive for this is. Should the SACP have any issues with the SABC, we urge them to engage the public broadcaster in a proper and professional manner, before making unnecessary statements which are devoid of fact and truth to the public. 
The SABC as a public service broadcaster will not be influenced or intimidated by any external stakeholder, which wants to interfere in the editorial independence of the Corporation. The SACP has no right to dictate how and when a story should be covered, as this is in direct violation of maintaining the independence of our news and current affairs. 
The SACP must also refrain from stating that the there is no public accountability, as the SABC is accountable to the public by reporting frequently on its activities to the Shareholder and Parliament. 
We must also point out that the SABC is in a much better position than before in terms of audience figures and being financially stable under its current leadership. It is therefore unfair to allege that the SABC’s personnel are unsuitable and unskilled. 
The SABC has dealt with most of the concerns raised by the Auditor-General (AG), and this is shown by an improvement in the audit outcomes, thus moving from having a disclaimer to a qualified audit for the 2013/14 financial year.

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