The South African public broadcaster SABC has announced that it will no longer air images of destruction during protests in the country, drawing heated discussions on social media.
In a statement published on their website, Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the corporation’s chief operating officer said, “It is regrettable that these actions are disrupting many lives and as a responsible public institution we will not assist these individuals to push their agenda that seeks media attention.”
On Twitter, there were mixed reactions about the announcement with some saying that it was censorship while others argued that the broadcaster had good intentions.
Reporting must remain objective, the media must be careful of not being complicit in burning of SA under the disguise of reporting. #SABC
— Tshepo Moletsane (@mobisoul) May 27, 2016
— TVwithThinus (@TVwithThinus) May 27, 2016
I support #SABC‘s decision not to air content displaying voilent.Some of these lunatics do these for publicity & relevancy.It starts here
— F A N A (@maeselafana) May 27, 2016
Do you guys really think that people will be less destructive if the media is censored? And yes, it IS censorship. #SABC
— Trang Pek (@SadieWiggles) May 27, 2016
Some questioned whose interest SABC was serving by making that decision.
— Media Matters (@MediaMattersZA) May 27, 2016
In Uganda, the public broadcaster Uganda Broadcasting Corporation rarely airs images from protests. Government has in the recent past banned and also strongly discouraged live coverage of opposition protests and even threatened to revoke licences of media houses that do so. The government says that protests destroy people’s properties and business and therefore warrant no airtime or space in Uganda’s media.
Mr Don Wanyama, former editor at both the Daily Monitor and New Vision shared the SABC news on his Facebook page saying, ” This is about responsible journalism. There are limits to public interest reporting.” Mr Wanyama was recently appointed senior presidential press secretary by President Museveni.
On Twitter, journalist Sarah Namusoga said there is need to define responsible journalism.
It is such policies that underscore the need to define “responsible journalism”. https://t.co/fS86SKq7si
— Sara Namusoga (@snamso) May 27, 2016