Broadcasting Services

SABC Producers Accuse Station Of Decimating Indigenous Languages

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Senior Editors have accused the broadcaster of discrimination against several indigenous languages, which violate the public broadcaster's mandate, this is according to reports.

The Senior Editors are accusing the broadcaster of relegating television news bulletins in Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Xitsonga, Tshivenda, IsiNdebele and Siswati.  As maintained by the sources, the Executive Producers sent an email to SABC Group Executive for News and Current Affairs, Phathiswa Magopeni, saying that the new structure undermined the indigenous languages. The producers further went on to say; the system only recognised terrestrial TV languages like Afrikaans, isiZulu, and isiXhosa. Various Executive Producer positions are declared redundant in our languages; however, the same jobs are retained for Afrikaans, isiZulu, and isiXhosa, said the journalists. The Executive Producers went on to say; we feel we are being victimised based on ethnicity as this structure propagates that other languages are inferior.

According to reports, Tshivenda and Siswati bulletin editor positions have been vacant since 2015 and 2018, respectively.  The posts have since been frozen, while the Afrikaans Executive Producer position was filled when it became vacant in 2018. According to the Producers, English, isiZulu, and isiXhosa TV bulletins are afforded digital space while other languages are not.  The Senior Editors have also claimed that their news bulletins were often cancelled to make way for isiZulu and IsiXhosa news during national importance events.

In response, SABC spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo stated that the broadcaster is still committed to fulfilling its public service mandate.  We will never compromise the preservation and promotion of indigenous languages through our various radio and television platforms. Therefore, the claim that there are efforts to commercialise the public broadcaster at the expense of indigenous languages is misleading and factually incorrect.


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