Expatica news

S.Africa broadcaster bans screening of violent protests

South Africa’s public broadcaster said Friday it would stop screening violent protests involving the firebombing of public buildings — a move condemned as censorship ahead of crucial elections.

The South African Broadcasting Service (SABC) said it had imposed the ban in an attempt to discourage copycat protests.

Residents in the northern Limpopo province this month torched about 20 government schools during protests against the redrawing of municipal boundaries.

South Africa holds municipal elections on August 3 where the opposition is hoping to wrest control of some major cities from the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

Several university buildings were firebombed in separate protests this year, while violent demonstrations over housing and service delivery are common across the country.

“We are not going to provide publicity to such actions that are destructive and regressive,” the SABC said in a statement.

“Continuing to promote them might encourage other communities to do the same.”

The opposition Democratic Alliance said it was considering legal action over the ban, accusing the broadcaster of becoming “a propaganda portal” for the ANC.

Franz Kruger, head of the journalism school at the University of Witwatersrand, said the SABC move “will simply undermine their own credibility”.

“I think it’s a very foolish decision,” he told AFP.