The SABC Editorial Policies were developed in terms of the Broadcasting Amendment Act (2003) and came into effect in 2004 following public consultation and input. This established a specific link between the public broadcaster and the South African public and allows for direct participation and input in the affairs of the SABC. These policies are intended to ensure compliance with the ICASA code of conduct, the corporation’s licence conditions, and the provision of the Act, and should be reviewed (in consultation with the public) every five years. However, due to ongoing management and Board problems at the SABC, the first revision process was only initiated in 2013. This process, too, was found to lack the substantive consultations required and on the 8th of March 2017, ICASA declared that the editorial policies were invalid and the 2004 policies were reinstituted. Our comments in the submission dated 8th March 2017, are therefore based on the 2004 editorial policies.
On the 23rd July 2018, the SABC published a call for comments on the revised SABC Editorial Policies. The revised document appeared to be an almost cut and past copy of the 2004 Editorial Policies, which was extremely disappointing given the previous public consultations taking place, as well as the fact that the SABC had had 9 months to review submissions and draft changes accordingly.
Another alarming issue was that the SABC had only given 8 working days for submissions. After making requests for an extension, the deadline was moved to the end of August 2018. MMA and Sanef made a joint submission on the Editorial Policies, which you can find listed below, as well as all appendices referenced.