Sunday, September 2, 2007


Dear Jane Duncan,

If The Freedom of Expression Institute was in possession of Manto's medical records would you make them available on your website?

FIX THE FXI thinks that you should do so but only if the records reveal that (1) The Health Minister is an alcoholic and (2) should not have gone to the top of the liver transplant list.


The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) on Monday commended the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) for its "brave and patriotic decision" to break ties with the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef).

Sanco also called on the African National Congress to review government policy on the role of the media.

"The abuse of the freedom of expression is a danger to the Constitution and media freedom itself, and is a recipe for anarchy and thereby slowing down our transformation of South African society and our battle to overcome poverty and achieve national reconciliation," it said.

Date: 03 September 2007 8:27:23 AM

Sanef chairperson Jovial Rantao has said that the forum had received a letter from the SABC (Dali Mpofu) announcing its intentions on Friday. "We will be seeking a meeting with the SABC to discuss the contents of the letter."

What a mistake on SANEF's behalf!

SANEF shoud be delighted that The SABC is does not need Zikalala's toxic waste. The ANC should export the latter to Harare where it truly belongs.


Mail and Guardian:
The SABC abandoned "all pretence at professionalism and impartiality" when it decided to withdraw from Sanef, The Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

The proposal of the SABC board to break away from Sanef "defies the commitment to accountability on the part of those holding public office, to the right of the public to be informed, and to freedom of expression", said Democratic Alliance spokesperson on communications Dene Smuts on Sunday.

She added: "If it is true that the minister has a problem with alcohol consumption, then the public has a right to be informed."

She criticised the SABC's portrayal of Tshabalala-Msimang. "Instead of dealing with this issue and holding the minister to account, the SABC has been showing on some news bulletins footage ... the minister sitting beautifully dressed and coiffured at her desk, apparently in full command of her faculties and portfolio, smiling like a movie star while an administrative assistant hovers for instructions."

Smuts concluded: "It is [Dali Mpofu] who is delinquent, not Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya."

The SABC under apartheid and under the ANC — comparison makes interesting viewing (COLUMN)
Justice Malala: Monday Morning Matters Published:Sep 03, 2007
Deja vu at See And Believe Corp.

History does, unfortunately, repeat itself.

Last week, the SABC’s chief executive officer, Dali Mpofu, wrote to the SA National Editors’ Forum to tell it that the national broadcaster was cutting all ties with it.

The main reason given for the decision was that the forum had defended the right of the Sunday Times to publish allegations that Health Minister Manto Tshabalala- Msimang was a drunk and a thief.

In a letter to the forum’s chairman, Jovial Rantao, Mpofu wrote: “When you [Rantao] and the Raymond Louws of this world justify criminal theft, you must know that you are not speaking for the SABC and the majority of South Africans.

“The same people who, at the beginning of the year, were frothing in the mouth about how soft the government is on crime are now flag-bearers for the theft of medical records, which might result in endangering a human being’s life and her future treatment! How inhumane and how far removed from the basic value of ubuntu.

“Shame on all of you, especially those who have turned their backs on your own cultural values for 30 pieces of silver, pretending to be converted to foreign, frigid and feelingless freedoms.”

Elsewhere in the letter, Mpofu said: “Even less are we prepared to associate with the enemies of our freedom and our people. We cannot remain quiet while our mothers and our democratically chosen leaders are stripped naked for the sole reason of selling newspapers. This in Women’s Month, nogal.”

Mpofu’s letter reminded me of the ANC’s submission on the role of the media — under apartheid — to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1997.

The section on the SABC is beautiful and poignant, and reminds me of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

It reads: “The SABC was the most important weapon in the apartheid state’s battle for the hearts and minds of the people. The state controlled and ran the national broadcaster. Through the SABC board … it ensured that the corporation stayed true to its mandate of propping up the apartheid state through spreading disinformation.

“There are numerous reported examples of state interference in the SABC’s activities, and it is an illusion to imagine that the SABC was anything other than the propaganda machine of the apartheid state.

“Its actions during this period can be summarised as follows.

The SABC’s channels were primarily used to promote only the interests of the ruling party, and to propagate only those views that reinforced the hegemony of the apartheid state.

In addition, the SABC was often a virulent opponent of the liberation movements, and played a primary role in spreading disinformation and lies about the activities of these movements and their leaders.

As a rule, there was no attempt at balance in the coverage of news events. Official sources were generally the only sources of information.”

The report continued: “Apart from spreading disinformation, the corporation also denied South Africans access to information and opinions. Countless events and developments went unreported, ensuring that millions of South Africans remained unaware of developments in their country.

“The impact of this was that millions of South Africans were subjected to propaganda masquerading as news. In the case of the illiterate, they were subjected to one view without being able to access other views or sources of information. The state broadcaster effectively had a stranglehold on the provision of information to the majority of South Africans.

“Management and media workers at the SABC, as a whole, went along with this broad objective. Many senior editorial managers, for example, were either military intelligence operatives or in other ways part of the apartheid state.

“There are examples of principled media workers and other SABC staff who left the corporation rather than go along with its policies, or waged their own struggle to change the nature of the SABC. The ANC pays tribute to their commitment and resolve.

“But the general rule — at least until early 1990 — seems to have been that the corporation employed media workers, producers and researchers who were broadly supportive of the apartheid state.”

The full document is available on the ANC’s website.

One wonders what an ANC critique of the SABC would look like today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Manto's liver was privy to a lot of potentially damaging information. Mbeki will need to butter the liver up somehow. Perhaps a ministerial position and annual trips to Disneyland for it and its whole family will be on the cards. They may be hoping that the liver will not have the GUTS to speak up.