Hundreds of Democratic Alliance (DA) supporters demonstrated outside the SABC offices across the country last Tuesday to protest against the ANC’s manipulation and control of the public broadcaster.
Events were held by the DA in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein. The aim was to highlight the bias in the SABC’s television news reporting and to put pressure on the broadcaster to take proactive steps to address the situation, DA spokesperson John Moodey said in Auckland Park.
DA protesters enthusiastically chanted, sang, danced and whistledwhile holding up placards which read: “SABC News is biased,” “SABC vir all die mense nie net vir ANC nie,” “Your TV licences fund ANC decrees,” “Net nuus geen propaganda”, “SABC News direct from ANC” and “SABC News 100% propaganda”.
DA Chairperson, Joe Seremane, told journalists: “Since 1994, the SABC has increasingly toed the ANC government line. Not only is this an attack on media freedom in South Africa, it also constitutes a misuse of public resources and provides the ANC with a massive propaganda machine at its disposal. This recalls the apartheid era.
“The ANC strategy to co-opt the SABC was perhaps most clearly evinced when an SABC spokesperson said in a radio interview during the 2004 election that the SABC had to compensate for the Mbeki-bashing characteristics of other sections of the media.”
Addressing DA supporters who gathered outside the SABC complex in Durban, former-journalist-turned DA MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard said under ANC rule the SABC had toed the ANC government line and was forcing its journalists to do the same.
“That is why I chose to leave the job I loved and that I had devoted 23 years of my life to. I refused to toe the National Party line under the NP, and when I came back to this country I finally found myself having to refuse to toe the ANC line under the ANC,” she said.