The SABC has downplayed allegations that two of its political reporters have been sidelined in the broadcastersÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ coverage of ANC president Jacob Zuma, writes Thabo Mkhize in The Times.
The Times reported yesterday that two reporters had complained of being blocked from covering Zuma.
Mzwandile Mbeje, an SABC TV reporter, and his radio counterpart, Tshepo Ikaneng, said they had been benched by the public broadcaster because it perceived them to be sympathetic in their reporting on the ANC president.
But yesterday Kaizer Kganyago, a spokesman for the SABC, said: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t have a policy that excludes anyone on a partisan basis, we are only governed by the editorial policy of the SABC.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIf they believe they have serious grievances they can lodge them with the SABC ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ we canÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t do anything based on allegations,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he said.
Mbeje left for Dar Es Salaam yesterday, to cover ZumaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s visit to Tanzania, but Ikaneng, who was also scheduled to take the trip, stayed behind and has taken voluntary leave.
The SABC said yesterday that ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œthere was nothing sinister in IkanengÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s re-assignment from the Tanzanian trip ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
But it added that, should a reporterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s political opinions ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œcolour their coverage to the extent that their reports no longer adhere to the provisions of accuracy, fairness, impartiality and balance contained in the SABCÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s editorial code, corrective action will be takenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
Click here to read the full report, posted on thetimes.co.za.