Tuesday, May 30, 2006

SABC cencors documentaries

In a very worrying development the Freedom of Expression Institute reports that the South African National Broadcaster has removed and changed documentaries critical of South African President Mbeki.

South Africa: FXI Concerned About 'Growing Trend of Self-Censorship' at SABC

FXI concerned about growing trend of self-censorship at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) The FXI is deeply disturbed about recent reports regarding the SABC's decision not to [broadcast] a documentary on South African President Thabo Mbeki scheduled for Wednesday of last week. Apparently the documentary takes a critical look at the President's governance style, including what many commentators have referred to as a growing centralisation of government.

Several newspaper reports have quoted sources stating that the documentary was canned shortly before it was due to be screened after a member of SABC's management had an informal meeting with the Communications Department of the Presidency, where concern was expressed about the documentary's contents.

Also, apparently management was concerned that the timing of the documentary was wrong. Mbeki has been accused of being behind the demise of the former Deputy President Jacob Zuma, who was recently acquitted of rape, and reportedly management was concerned that a critical documentary may heighten the political [tensions] in the country. The FXI has also just learnt that another documentary, [one] on Irvin Khoza, was altered by removing the most controversial part from the film.

Read the whole story here.


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