The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on Thursday said it was concerned about the latest death threats directed at its journalists who are covering various issues across the country, including instances of alleged corruption.
According to SABC spokesperson, Vuyo Mthembu, the public broadcaster has further noted, and is disturbed by recent instances of political and corporate bullying directed at its news service staff, with some of these happening on social media platforms.
Group executive news and current affairs, Phathiswa Magopeni, said: “The SABC takes the threats seriously, and wants to put on record that these acts go against its constitutionally guaranteed freedom to perform its duties without hindrance.”
She added that the continuing intimidation of journalists who are committed to delivering untrammeled news and current affairs content to the South African public, is in itself a threat to the public mandate.
“In as far as safeguarding and strengthening the country’s democracy through critical watchdog journalism. These are deliberately intended to weaken our ability to report courageously, fairly and comprehensively on all matters of public interest,” added Magopeni.
She stated that where there is evidence of legislative and regulatory contravention, or complaints of unfair coverage, the public is encouraged to raise these directly with the SABC, or approach relevant institutions like the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA), and the Press Council of South Africa (PCSA).
The organisation further appealed to the public to give its journalists a safe space to do their work, in a manner that guarantees transparency, accountability and inclusiveness. This can only be achieved when the environment is conducive to ensuring plurality in the voices featured in its news content, indiscriminately and without prejudice.