SABC – Dumping of Afrikaans programming not true
Johannesburg, 26 June 2014-The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) would like to express its misgivings on the article published today on TV with Thinus, an online publication, which claims to do news and analysis on South African Television. The Cape Town based self-proclaimed TV critic, Mr. Thinus Ferreira’s article is questionable and is perceived by the SABC as a move to cause confusion and to some extent instigate racial and linguistic divisions.
The article alleges that SABC will move its Afrikaans programming to SABC 3 in order to further marginalize the Afrikaans language. This is not a true reflection of the state of affairs, as the SABC has not marginalized any language and will not do that in the future. The SABC has an obligation as prescribed by the Broadcasting Act to ensure that all languages are treated equally.
It is further alleged that the Afrikaans news bulletin has been canned from SABC 2 with no forewarning to the viewers. The SABC refutes this allegation with the contempt it deserves, as the corporation revealed its 2014 World Cup broadcast plans in a press conference, on the 29th of May 2014 indicating how programming in general will be affected. It is rather appalling that in his article, Mr. Ferreira says the viewer anger has flared up this week, whilst he was one of the Journalists who received the SABC media statement with a detailed schedule of all the temporary changes on SABC television programming which does not only affect the Afrikaans speaking community but other languages too. All the programme changes were further communicated directly to the viewers on air subsequent to the Press statement.
The Xitsonga, SiSwati, IsiNdebele and Venda news have also been moved from SABC 2, and there is no mention of this on Ferreira’s article. We strongly believe that all South Africans are equally important, and therefore Mr. Ferreira’s statement saying “The Nuus om 7 became a ‘hurdle’ for SABC 2” is inappropriate and uncalled for.
This week, the mostly watched Sesotho Current affairs programme on SABC 2, Leihlo la Sechaba will not be playing and it is rather disturbing that Mr. Ferreira singles out only the Afrikaans programmes. This is viewed in a serious light as it indicates that his report is subjective and is intended to suit a certain agenda only known to him.
One of our flagship programme, Generations, has been moved to SABC 2 from SABC 1 if Ferreira’s argument was anything to go by, we would have seen and recorded millions of complaints from Generations viewership. It remains a puzzle why when Afrikaans programming is touched this then becomes an issue.
The SABC’s programme shifts are not a decision that is not well thought, there is always a strategic need informed by our market intelligence to shift programmes around when there is a need and we will not let any individual paint a different picture which is not necessarily informed by any substantial case or evidence.
In this particular case, the Afrikaans news and many other programmes were affected by the fact that the World cup matches were playing at the same time, thus, we used SABC 1 and SABC 3 channels to broadcast the matches.
The SABC welcomes any critique on its work in order to assist the organization to move towards the right direction, however, we do not appreciate malicious reporting that is aiming at polluting the democratic society that is established by all instrumental institutions including the SABC.