South Africa’s public broadcaster stirs debate over images of protesters

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.

Some questioned whose interest SABC was serving by making that decision. 


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.

Grace Natabaalo

Grace Natabaalo is a programme assistant at the African Centre for Media Excellence.

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