Subject: SANCO AND THE SABC
Date: 03 September 2007 5:47:13 PM
Dear Jane Duncan,
What does The Freedom of Expression Institute think about the attached statement from SANCO re The SABC ?
Do you intend commenting on their statement? If not, why not?
SANCO COMMENDS THE SABC FOR WITHDRAWING FROM SANEF
The South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) commends the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) for its brave and patriotic decision to walk out of the South African National Editor's Forum (SANEF).
The outcome of the Kempton Park negotiated settlement presented South Africa with an opportunity to create a united country that actively embraces reconciliation whilst recognising the country's diversity.
The Constitution adopted in 1996 guaranteed a range of internationally acclaimed freedoms. The Constitution entrenched and secured a Bill of Rights. It is within this context that all South Africans understand the decision of the SABC to defend our Constitution and the opportunity for South Africa to create a society that is fair, just, and focussed on dramatically improving the lives of the poor.
The decision taken by SANEF to undermine all other rights and to irresponsibly defend this so-called public interest has revealed a crude right-wing agenda, with SANEF's unqualified support of the immoral and illegal activities of the Sunday Times. SANEF is attempting by all means to appoint the profit-driven media as the un-elected defender of the public interest.
The SABC's refusal to participate in this counter-revolutionary programme is the action of an institution that recognises the progressive role the media is supposed to play. We call on all other sectors of South African society to support the SABC's stance.
SANCO calls on the Democratic South African government to withdraw all advertising and sever all relations from the Sunday Times and all SANEF members who continue to support this reactionery SANEF position. The severing of relations, including the withdrawal of advertisements must be done in concert by all departments, and spheres of government, namely, Local, Provincial and National governments, and all State-owned enterprises.
We further call on the private sector, who continue to rely on government contracts and financial relations to support this noble call of defending our hard won democracy, by also severing all comercial relations they have with the Sunday Times and the SANEF members who continue to support them.
We call on the African National Congress (ANC) to review government policy on the role of the media in the light of the Supreme Court ruling on the case between The Sunday Times and the Minister of Health.
We also call on the progressive members of the media to support the SABC and establish a progressive platform rather than SANEF to represent the media. Since SANEF has steadfastly refused to play a leadership role and is a platform to defend the conduct of its members at any cost.
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.
For further clarifications and comments, you are welcome to contact SANCO NEC member, Donovan Williams on 083 634 7179.
In living its goals SANCO is committed to strive for the following:
The implementation of the freedoms and securities enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa including freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of association and equality for all.