Press Release: ICASA declares amendments to the SABC’s editorial policies invalid
Published by Legal Resources Centre 10 March 2017
For Immediate Release: 10 March 2017
On 8 March 2017, the Council of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), acting on the recommendation of the Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC), has declared the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Board’s 2016 amendment of its editorial policies to be invalid.
The SOS Support Broadcasting Coalition and Media Monitoring Africa, represented by the Legal Resources Centre, challenged the amendments to the SABC’s editorial policies on the basis that the SABC had failed to publish the proposed amendments to its editorial policies for public comment before accepting the amendments on 25 January 2016. This failure, it was argued, was a breach of the SABC’s duty to engage in public participation in terms of section 6(6) of the Broadcasting Act, 1999.
As noted in the ruling, the amendment to the editorial policies contained a number of significant revisions that were of concern to the complainants, including that —
The CCC ruled that, in failing to publish the draft amended policies and invite comment on them, public participation had not taken place in terms of section 6(6) of the Broadcasting Act. The CCC described this omission as “substantial”, finding that the duty to engage in public consultation is “an essential condition” of the Broadcasting Act.
Accordingly, the CCC held that the 2016 amendment by the SABC Board to its editorial policies was invalid in terms of the Broadcasting Act, and that the 2004 editorial policies therefore remain valid.