The SABC has denied that blacklisting took place at the organisation and defended news head Snuki Zikalala’s editorial independence, writes Jocelyn Newmarch in Business Day.

This is according to the SABC’s responding affidavit, lodged with the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), after the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) complained the SABC had failed to implement the recommendations of the Sisulu commission.

The institute said the SABC had failed to comply with the constitution, the Broadcasting Act, Icasa’s code of conduct for broadcasters, SAfm’s licence conditions, the SABC editorial code of practice and the SABC News current affairs and information programming policy.

The complaint will be heard today by Icasa’s complaints and compliance committee.

In 2006, the commission found that Zikalala had barred certain commentators and journalists from the airwaves. This allegation was supported by SAfm presenter John Perlman. The commission recommended the role of group executive for news and current affairs should be restricted to general policy and strategy, and that the group CE’s role as editor-in-chief be reinforced. No attempt should be made to exclude commentators.

The commission said these recommendations should be incorporated into the SABC’s editorial policies, and regular audits on the use of commentators should be conducted.

But the SABC said many of the Sisulu commission’s witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity and were not cross-examined. Because of this, it disputes the commission’s findings.

Fakir Hassen, the SABC’s complaints officer, said in the affidavit that part of the FXI’s complaint concerned the management of the broadcaster, which did not fall under Icasa’s mandate .

He also said the SABC was under no obligation to make public any decisions it had taken on the Sisulu commission’s findings.

The FXI has submitted nine incidents where it said the SABC’s integrity was compromised, some involving decisions to edit news reports or to exclude coverage entirely.

Click here to read the full report, posted on Business Day's website.