In a constitutional democracy like the South African, it is commonly accepted and entirely uncontroversial to assert the central role allocated to an independent public service broadcaster in facilitating informed public debate based on the central tenets, as stated in the SABC Charter, of free speech and journalistic and programming independence. However, as witnessed by recent public debate, the SABC is currently being challenged on the extent to which its editorial policy remains in compliance with these basic democratic principles.

In this context, the Media Monitoring Project (MMP), an independent media monitoring organisation which has been monitoring the media since 1993, sees its role as to assess the merits of these claims. As an independent organisation of civil society, the MMP remains independent of all parties and undertakes evaluations of compliance with constitutional principles and professional media practices. In this sense the MMP’s aim is to secure the primacy of the constitution, which constitutes the MMP’s only substantive bias.

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