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To: Parliament, Minister of Communications and President Ramaphosa

Protect the SABCs independence #HandsOffSABC

If enough of us come together, we can ensure that the minister has no full powers to influence the news and content that the SABC covers, similar to the Hlaudi era. We must spotlight why the SABC Bill is being rushed through Parliament right now. Together, we can help protect news independence from political interference by the Communications Minister.

The PPCC (Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications and Digital Technologies) must:
- Withdraw the SABC Bill and refer it back to the DCDT for amendments.
- Oversee and enforce the correct lawmaking process regarding the Draft White Paper on Audio and Audiovisual Media Services and Online Safety (AAVCS).

We also call on the DCDT (Department of Communications and Digital Technologies) to:
- Acknowledge and engage with the public comments made to the second AAVCS Draft White Paper.
- Finalise the AAVCS Draft White Paper.
- Re-draft sections in the SABC Bill that threaten democracy, media freedom and the independence and sustainability of the SABC.
- Hold a public comment process before the Bill is introduced in Parliament.

Why is this important?

If the President and other politicians respect our democracy, constitution, and independence of the public broadcaster, why support this Bill? We are currently in the lead-up to elections, and media outlets will be sharing important election updates from various political parties with us. This highlights the importance of the SABC as a national broadcaster. With all these 2024 election activities set to happen, the new SABC Bill that is currently before the PPCC is being rushed to be passed into law, raising concerns. Why the rush? If the Bill is passed in its current state, the Minister will have powers to influence the news and content the SABC covers, similar to the Hlaudi era.

During the Hlaudi era, we saw how the SABC news was captured. The firing of journalists, the meddling of SABC operations, and widespread censorship all affected the Public Broadcaster, causing us to lose trust in it. We, as the SOS Coalition, were at the forefront of fighting to protect the independence and integrity of the SABC then, as we are now. To opt-in to receiving more campaign information from SOS, click on this link:
The Bill should help with the ongoing challenges at the SABC, grant the SABC greater independence from political interference, bolster its ability to hold the government accountable and introduce a sustainable funding model. However, it has clauses which do the opposite. Given this and the rush to have the Bill passed, concerns regarding the exploitation of the public broadcaster to favour certain political parties over others in the lead-up to the elections are growing. This is why we need your help to protect the SABC from politicians with ulterior motives.

We are calling for #HandsOffSABC. The public broadcaster needs to remain independent and impartial in its election’s coverage. The Bill threatens this independence and is, therefore, a threat to our democracy.

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2023-11-01 10:53:09 +0200

100 signatures reached

2023-10-30 20:19:26 +0200

50 signatures reached

2023-10-30 11:08:19 +0200

25 signatures reached

2023-10-27 21:47:19 +0200

10 signatures reached