The SABC’s disturbing move to ban newspaper headlines has seen its Morning Live show refusing to broadcast images of the victims of the Orlando massacre.
The incident was witnessed by veteran LGBTI activist and filmmaker Bev Ditsie. On Wednesday, she wrote on Facebook:
“So shocked on Morning Live this am. I was in a timewarp – in the days of Apartheid censorship. [The presenter] asked the camera to zoom in the front page of a newspaper which showed pictures of the victims of Pulse – Orlando. They zoomed in, and abruptly cut it off and went to break.
“She freaked out and was saying over and over: ‘It’s not a headline, its just pictures. Just pictures. What’s going on here? I know we can’t do headlines but that was just pictures’ Repression is a living thing in the studios of that big building. I was so sad for her – her frustration and anger was palpable. This… my people, is the beginning of a whole new monster. THIS… The whole building on egg shells. THIS… I’m still reeling,” said Ditsie.
Last week, the national broadcaster banned the reading, discussing or showing of newspaper headlines and front pages on its channels; a norm on news shows around the world.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago told TMG Digital that the SABC had decided to no longer give newspapers “free publicity”.
“They do not pay us for that exposure and we are not required to (provide) it‚” Kganyago said. Critics says it’s yet another attempt to restrict independent reports of news and events.
The move is seen as part of increasing censorship and sweeping unilateral decisions by SABC’s controversial (and shockingly arrogant) Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
This includes ordering the corporation’s news department to no longer show visuals of service delivery protests.
Ditsie shared a link to a petition calling for an end to the SABC’s censorship, one which Mambaonline.com supports.
On Sunday, 49 people were slaughtered by 29-year-old Omar Mateen who opened fire on hundreds of revellers inside the Pulse gay nightclub.
He was shot by officers who stormed the venue. Around 50 people remain injured, many of whom are in a critical condition.