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Concerns on submissions


The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) recently announced their intentions to take submissions from the public in a bid to shape editorial policy. The public broadcaster said submissions would, hopefully, form the basis for upgrades in editorial policy. But while he was calling for the public to comment, Dr Faisal Suliman of the South African Muslim Network (Samnet) said the organization is wary of the SABC’s sincerity in asking for submissions. He explained that this is not the first time the broadcaster has asked for public submissions, but asked whether this may not only be a publicity stunt.“This has happened before, and again we ask the question of [whether] this is just PR or if there is going to be some seriousness to this,” he said.


“They say that it’s been a while since this was done and therefore they want to know what the public has to say and where they think improvements can be made.”


But Suliman said there are certain issues that need to be highlighted, at least from the perspective of the South African Muslim community submitting to the SABC. He said the SABC, in its news editorials, lack the presence of Muslims in stories involving them and Muslim issues.


“There is one issue that they have not answered … how is it that we never hear from Hamas, Hezbollah or even the Iranians on their nuclear program on the SABC? To date I cannot recall, and I asked them to prove me wrong, that they had ever interviewed someone from Hamas even though in Gaza they are a government recognized by our own government,” he said.


“When there has been a conflict [they] would always have an American or, more-often-than-not, an Israeli come on and accuse Hamas of certain behaviour.”


Suliman said the interests of people living in the Middle-East involved in conflicts should be presented fairly and not subjectively.Often interviews and show formats are slanted towards an American or Israeli agenda.


“There have been numerous examples where Zionists appear on call-in or talk shows, and be allowed to appear alone. But when there’s [someone representing] Palestinians they would have to put an Israeli or Zionist on. This one-sidedness is blatant and obvious. This is not rumoured… I have experienced this myself.”


Suliman encouraged all SABC consumers to make submissions to influence editorial decisions made by the broadcaster. VOC

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