The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) has noted that the ANC’s new spokesperson Pule Mabe has been critical of the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) coverage of a dissident group claiming to be ANC and SACP members, calling themselves the ‘Zuma must go’ campaign.
Mabe has strongly taken issue with the SABC covering the press conference. He has argued that the people covered have no mandate to talk and are not in formal ANC structures.
SANEF believes that the SABC must be allowed to exercise its editorial independence to cover the stories it deems fit, including of dissident ANC and SACP members. The ANC has the right to contest the coverage of the SABC, but it should never infringe on the SABC’s right to cover the stories it deems important. Also, it should never intimidate or threaten SABC journalists.
The role of the SABC as South Africa’s public broadcaster is critical, particularly during these turbulent and uncertain political times. SANEF believes that frank, robust relations between the ruling party and the SABC are essential. However, what must be jealously guarded is the SABC’s right to choose the stories it wishes to broadcast and its right to report without fear or favour.