DA welcomes probe into cancelled show

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By SAPA

Johannesburg - The DA has welcomed a probe by Icasa into the last-minute cancellation of a MetroFM discussion on the ANC's upcoming national conference.

Icasa's swift action showed it had learnt from the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) case which began in 2007 and was only settled in November this year, Democratic Alliance spokeswoman Marian Shinn said on Friday.

“The SABC acknowledged the fact that the conduct of its employees, as named in the FXI complaint, contravened its own editorial policies,” she said in a statement.

“We call on the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) to release the details regarding the scope of their investigation and exactly what they will aim to investigate.”

Shinn said depending on what Icasa released, the DA could also submit their own complaint should anything be omitted.

She believed the investigation offered the SABC the chance to reclaim its reputation as a credible public broadcaster, since it would show who compromised its editorial independence by favouring President Jacob Zuma.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) however supported the SABC's decision, stating the broadcaster was protecting its image and integrity.

“CWU is outraged by the attack launched by the liberal media on the SABC and ANC for reporting on the Mangaung conference,” said spokesman Matankana Mothapo in a statement.

“The SABC is not a political playing field for people who are hell-bent on destroying it and the ANC.”

The union said there were people obsessed with individuals within the broadcaster's senior management.

“We will always commend them 1/8senior management 3/8 for the job well done,” said Mothapo.

Three political journalists were scheduled to appear on MetroFM's “Talk with Sakina”, presented by Sakina Kamwendo, on Tuesday to discuss media coverage of the conference in Mangaung.

The talk was cancelled at the last minute.

Sunday Times political editor S'thembiso Msomi, Business Day political editor Sam Mkokeli and Financial Times Southern African bureau chief Andrew England were reportedly already at the SABC studios when the interview was cancelled.

SABC group radio executive Leslie Ntloko said on Wednesday that management had received the list of guests for the cancelled segment late.

When management learned the ANC was not participating, the plug was pulled.

He said the ANC needed to be a part of the discussion.

“We looked at the briefing and asked whether there was fairness and balance. We took the decision because there was no fairness,” Ntloko said.

He cited SABC rules that when an issue involved an event of national importance, and a political party, that party had to be invited to participate.

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