SABC blacklisting saga not an isolated incident
THE SABC blacklisting saga in which one media group has tried to gag another, is not an isolated incident and could be just the tip of the iceberg. Recently Media24 attempted to gag the Alternative Media Forum from publishing revelations about racism, anti-semitism and discrimination within the company. The group, despite recent empowerment deals, continues to discriminate against its employees on the basis of race and ethnicity, and has shown itself intolerant to different points of view and contrary opinions.
Media24 is not alone. The Independent Group has also blacklisted journalists, most recently over the Iraq War and has banned political commentators who express opinions about the Middle East. Alister Sparks, the veteran journalist and commentator, is probably the only person in South Africa to be accorded the “freedom to criticise” George W. Bush. Journalists in South Africa who question AIDS statistics are also likely to find themselves in hot water, and the issue of freedom of thought — the right to dissent — the right to hold a belief or form an opinion, is intimately tied up with freedom of _expression.
The Freedom of _Expression Insititute supports the Alternative Media Forum’s current stance, and says, “Africa’s leading publishing group,’ as Media24 refers to itself, “should understand the critical importance of freedom of _expression in the South African context and the need to vigorously guard it from any and all sectors of our society that might seek to subvert it. It is not a right that should be undermined certainly not by the media whose very existence and work are dependant on the highest respect and adherence to this right.”
It is extremely disconcerting, therefore, that the SABC like Media24 has chosen to resort to threats in order to silence critical debate and, in so doing, is undermining a value and right that it should be protecting and defending. Parliament’s Communications Portfolio committee has already noted the hypocrisy of various media organisations acting in a non-transparent way, organsiations which at the same time demand transparancy from government.
Will the SABC recant on its current draconian policy of blacklisting those it does not agree with? Will Media24 come clean on its racism, anti-semitism and segregationist policies? Who determines the regime of truth? Is there a monopoly on meaning? From what one can gather via the recent actions of the SABC and other cartels, it would seem the buck stops with the Chief Executive Officer.
TO EXPRESS YOUR IRE ABOUT SABC BLACKLISTING AND ATTEMPTED GAGGING OF THE FREE PRESS, WRITE TO:
Publicity and Public Affairs Officers
Tel:+27(0) 11 714-6493/Fax+27(0) 11 714-6232
Tel:+27(0) 11 714-6296/Fax+27(0) 11 714-6232
TO COMPLAIN ABOUT MEDIA24 POLICIES THAT INCLUDE THE BLACKLISTING AND GAGGING OF ALTERNATIVE PRESS SOURCES, WRITE TO:
Hein Brand, Managing Director, Media24,
firstname.lastname@example.org Jan Malherbe, Media24 Newspapers Chief Executive,
Neil Jansen, Human Resources General Manager, Media24,
STOP HIS MASTER’S VOICE — DEMAND ALTERNATIVE MEDIA AND PRESS ACCOUNTABILITY. NO TO CENSORSHIP AND SUPPRESSION OF INFORMATION.
JOIN MEDIALTERNATIVES AND SUPPORT THE ALTERNATIVE MEDIA FORUM