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Released on: May 27, 2024

MMA, SOS and CFE welcome CCC judgment

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), the SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition (SOS) and the Campaign for Free Expression (CFE) welcome the Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC’s) judgment that the SABC had unlawfully refused to air Democratic Alliance (DA’s) political advert.

On Friday, 24 May, ICASA issued the CCC’s recommendations which determined that the SABC had no legal basis for refusing to broadcast the DA’s advert and therefore contravened Section 58(1) and 58(3) of the Electronic Communications Act (ECA), 2005 and the National and Provincial Party Election Broadcasts and Political Advertisement Regulations. The CCC recommended that SABC should broadcast the DA advert and further pay a fine of R500 000 within 7 days for its unjustified refusal.

The organisations hope that this decision sends a strong message to the SABC and other broadcasters that they must give fair and equitable treatment to all political parties during elections. The media have an obligation to level the playing field for all political players by fairly and impartially covering a range of political perspectives without prejudice or discrimination.

Political adverts are a critical aspect of providing political information to the public. They allow political parties and candidates to communicate their messages directly to voters. By refusing to air the DA advert, the SABC has not only deprived the DA a platform for communication but has also deprived citizens access to diverse political messaging which is critical for their electoral decision making.

The organisations await further judgment on the same matter, which they presented before the CCC on Friday, 24 May 2024. The crunch of their argument is that the SABC has no legal grounds to refuse to air a political advert on the basis of its content but can only reject it for failure to comply with the production technical requirements.

The organisations are hopeful that the CCC will uphold fairness and neutrality in its decisions and ensure that, yet again, the public broadcaster is held responsible for its conduct.

Contact Information:
William Bird (MMA Director)
082 887 1370

Uyanda Siyotula (SOS National Coordinator)
060 691 2462

Anton Harber (CFE Executive Director)
083 303 9497

 

 

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