The South African Broadcasting Corporation has laid a charges over the
"stolen property" after the Mail & Guardian Online posted an
episode of Special Assignment on political satire on the web, writes Matthew Burbridge in the Mail & Guardian.

The public broadcaster won't put this on air. We will. Watch the uncut version of the Special Assignment documentary on political satire.

watch the video
The public broadcaster pulled the episode on Tuesday evening, citing "internal processes", after initially pulling it just before the elections in April.

The documentary takes a look at political satire in South Africa and explores the fact the President Jacob Zuma is suing award-winning cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro for millions of rand, for among others, a cartoon portraying him about to rape Lady Justice. Shapiro drew this cartoon as Zuma was involved in a court bid to have graft charges dropped.

It also features interviews with satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys, who said that satire "is the only weapon we have … the weapon of affront through laughter".

Uys said Zuma's most important commitment was to the protection of the Constitution that guarantees the freedom of speech and expression.

"If Jacob Zuma, President Zuma, is intending to sue us I challenge him to put me on top of his list because I will never, ever, ever allow him one moment's peace."

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago told the M&G Online on Thursday afternoon that the case of theft would be laid at the Brixton police station.

Kganyago said in a statement that the corporation viewed the action by the Mail & Guardian Online as "unprofessional" and that it had undermined the public broadcaster and the "public at large".

M&G editor Nic Dawes said on Thursday afternoon that it was precisely the M&G Media's professional duty to make material of this nature public.

"The SABC is a public broadcaster with a constitutional mandate to serve the people of South Africa and to do so without fear or favour. The Mail & Guardian believes that the public have a right to see for themselves the episode of Special Assignment which the corporation has twice pulled off the air. The SABC can be an extraordinary force for good in our national life but it is being squandered by greed and inept and politically compliant leadership."

Click here to read the full report, posted on M&G Online.