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October 26, 2006

No Jews Need Apply at South African TV Broadcaster?


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SABC director Snuki Zikalala accepting an award for his "campaigns to ensure that information is correctly communicated to the intended target audience ...."

The Jerusalem Post reports that

The head of news at the state-owned South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has been accused of acting arbitrarily in unofficially blacklisting eight journalists and commentators. Among the banned journalists is Israel-based freelancer Paula Slier, a Jerusalem Post contributor, who has been barred from reporting because she is a Jew.

The managing director of the station, Snuki Zikalala, apparently ordered the ban because he is a PLO supporter. Zikalala is quoted saying: "You can't undermine the Palestinian struggle, you can't. For me it's a principle issue."

The Washington Post reported that Zikalala is "a former government spokesman who received his journalistic training in Communist Eastern Europe."

Ironically, it was just over a year ago that, in a pair of self-congratulatory speeches, Zikalala spoke of adhering to an editorial code that states: "We do not allow ... political or personal considerations to influence our editorial decisions."

Also ironic is this passage from his speeches, in which he bemoans "constraints that face media workers":

As can be seen media freedom is central to our understanding of our role as a public broadcaster. We also take the view that there are number of constraints that face media workers and organizations when they try to exercise these freedoms. Fortunately there are constitutional and legal remedies for us to use when these freedoms come under threat.

Read the commission of inquiry report, which issued the findings against Zikalala, here.

Also check out an interview with Paula Slier, the banned journalist, at the South African It's Almost Supernatural blog.

Posted by GI at October 26, 2006 08:35 PM

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