You know what would be a really good PR direction for anything nationally owned? To tell the truth.
I mean the real truth, not some made up round about excuse. Then again, those seem to be popular around this neck of the woods.
SABC, our beloved state broadcaster, has just announced that it will no longer show violent protests on any of its channels. This is in a bid to “educate the population”, sending a message that violent action will not get people the attention they seek.
Umm, sorry? You know the attention “they seek” is a result of poor service delivery?
Good ol’ chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng called it a “bold move”, saying it was in line with the broadcaster’s mandate of educating the nation. Bold move indeed.
He hopes that the move will highlight the fact that violent protests aren’t necessary, saying that “as a responsible public institution, we will not assist these individuals to push their agenda that seeks media attention”.
Perhaps the protests are violent because the people are tired and angry? I’m not too sure.
The SABC did not detail what constitutes “violent” protest, but said that it will not show any footage of public property being destroyed.
Gosh, damnnit, the news just won’t be the same!
While the broadcaster believes that citizens have every right to protest, they hope to encourage peaceful protests by not showing any of the violence.
Here’s the full SABC’s statement:
The SABC has noted with concern the recent turmoil arising from violent service delivery protests in various parts of the country.
As a public service broadcaster, the SABC condemns the burning of public institutions and has made a decision not to show footage of people burning public institutions, like schools, in any of its news bulletins with immediate effect.
The SABC acknowledges fact that citizens have constitutional rights to protest and voice concerns on various issues that they are not happy with, but the SABC doesn’t believe destruction of property is best way to voice grievances – and promoting them might encourage other communities to do same.
The SABC would like to stress that it’ll continue to cover news without fear or favour, but it will not cover people destroying public property.
The SABC appeals to other broadcasters and media to stand in solidarity and not cover violent protests that are destroying public institutions.
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