THE SABC is refusing to air the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) election advertisements‚ the party charged on Sunday.
DA national spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said the public broadcaster had informed the DA that it had no available slots for political advertisements at this time due to delays in the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) work with respect to the August 3 local government elections.
“This is nothing but a poor excuse by the SABC in order to censor the DA’s political advertisement as has become standard during election time.
“The DA and indeed all political parties are well within their rights to air party political advertisements at this time as the election date has been proclaimed‚” van Damme asserted.
In terms of Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) municipal election regulations‚ political parities are allowed to broadcast political advertisements during the “election period”‚ she stated.
She said the election period was defined in the regulations as “the period commencing with the date on which the election day is proclaimed…”. The election was proclaimed by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs‚ Des van Rooyen‚ on May 23 2016 meaning that‚ in terms of the law‚ South Africa was in election period and political parties were allowed to have their political advertisements broadcast.
“The commencement of the election period and the right of political parties to air their advertisments has been acknowledged by all other television and radio stations‚ the DA’s advertisments will begin airing tomorrow. The SABC is the only broadcaster that refuses to air the DA’s adverts.
“Accordingly‚ the DA will be lodging a formal complaint with Icasa to stave off the SABC’s attempt to abuse its power by attempting to censor the DA and protect the ANC from criticism‚” Van Damme said.
She added: “This is just the latest example in a string of cases that patently illustrate how our public broadcaster has been hijacked. The DA will not stand idly by while the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression is assaulted.
“South Africans will see through this thinly veiled ploy not to show the DA’s offer‚ which hinges on stopping corruption‚ creates jobs and delivering better services for all.”