Presentation on Final Editorial Policies
August 2004
Agenda
1.
Background
2.
Public consultation
3.
Mandate
4.
Programming
5.
Education
6.
Religion
7.
Language
8.
News
9.
General issues
10.
What the editorial policies mean for staff
2
Background
• On 25 April 2003 SABC published a number of draft editorial policies for public
comment:
• Mandate
• News
• Programming
• Language
• Universal service and Access
• Local content
• Religion
• Education
• Focused on those policies mentioned in the Broadcasting Act
3
Background
Why did the SABC publish these policies?
• Broadcasting Act (as amended) states that the SABC must develop draft editorial
policies, allow for public comment on them and then submit them to ICASA within 3
months of conversion
• The finalised policies will fulfil two purposes:
• A guide to editorial staff in their daily decision making
• A guide to the public on what they can expect from the public broadcaster
• The policies do not give detail on schedules or programme content - they rather
provide a high level description of what can be expected from the SABC as a public
broadcaster
• Some policies will replace existing policies from 1995 which are now outdated while
others are new
4
Background
Scope
• The policies apply to all SABC content, whether produced by SABC or not
• Where they have particular relevance to either the commercial or the public
broadcasting division, this is stated
Methodology
• International comparative review
• Review of existing policies against legal and regulatory requirements
• Workshops and brainstorming sessions
• Drafts prepared and circulated for comment
• Responses fed into database
• Internal workshops to finalise proposals on amendments
5
Background
Structure
• Policies structured to minimise difficulties in implementation:
• Clearly state set of commitments
• Outline to which areas of the SABC each policy is applicable and how it
should be applied
• Cross-references between the policies, when the same issue is dealt with
in more than one policy, but also provide for each policy to stand by itself
• Each draft policy linked to legislation, regulations and PBS mandate
• Built in reporting requirements to Board on the implementation of the
policies
• Standardised period of time the policies will stand - each will be applicable
for 5 years and will then be reviewed by Board
• The policies are underpinned by certain assumptions, including the
structure and funding of the Corporation. If these assumptions change,
the policies may need to be amended
6
Agenda
1.
Background
2.
Public consultation
3.
Programming
4.
Education
5.
Religion
6.
Language
7.
Mandate
8.
News
9.
General issues
10.
Next steps
7
Public consultation
Challenge - to make the policies widely accessible and easily
understandable
• Policies launched to key stakeholders and press on 25 April 2003
• Copies of draft policies made available at all SABC regional offices together
with detailed, easy to read summaries in six official languages
• Copies of the policies accessible on SABC website and intranet in all official
languages.
• Full page ads, summarising policies and inviting people to comment in Rapport,
City Press, Sunday Sun, Beeld, Daily Sun, Illanga, The Herald, Daily Dispatch
• In order to reach rural areas:
• Detailed easy to read summaries of the policies distributed to over 1000
post offices countrywide, in six official languages
• Poster campaign in 6 languages in post offices
8
Public consultation
• Use of own media
• Promos ran on SABC radio stations and TV channels until early May
intensively, and on a more low key basis thereafter
• SABC talk shows and discussion programmes were used to promote
discussion on the policies until June 13 2003
• Public meetings
• Held public meetings in each of the 9 provinces
• Between 200 and 500 people attended each meeting
• Gave public the opportunity to interact directly with members of the
SABC board and management.
• Comments on policies had to be made in writing:
•Drop-off at regional offices
•e-mail, fax or post
9
Public consultation
•
Editorial coverage
•
•
Focus in print media overwhelmingly on
the upward referral and “objectivity”
issue. 20 newspaper columns on
upward referral alone
SABC talkshows and discussion
programmes encouraged discussion on
all aspects of the policies.
10
Public consultation
• Excellent response by the public to the SABC’s call for comments on its draft
policies. 920 written submissions on the draft policies received. 847 from
individuals, 73 from organisations. Lots of goodwill in responses – “ownership”
of SABC
• The programming policy attracted the most number of comments with 600.
The next most commented on policy was Language and then Religion and
News.
Comments per policy
4%
4%
10%
16%
Education
Language
Local content
5%
Mandate
News
7%
Programming
Religion
45%
9%
Universal Access
11
Public consultation
• Most comments on the policies were general in nature with many comments
on issues of taste and decency but there were approximately 250 specific
suggestions on how the policies should be adjusted.
No. of specific suggestions made per
policy
4%
6%
10%
20%
Education
Language
Local content
Mandate
25%
5%
News
Programming
Religion
Universal Access
10%
20%
12
Public consultation
• The nature of the organisational submissions differed with those made by
individuals. The submissions by individuals tended to focus on general
comments and frequently did not specifically address the draft policies.
Nature of individual submissions
Nature of organisational submissions
124, 11%
General comments
General
comments
79, 39%
Specific
recommendations
Specific
recommendations
125, 61%
1031, 89%
13
Public consultation
• The organisations’ submissions tended to have comments more evenly
spread among the policies. The policy which was commented on the least by
organisations was the Universal Access policy, with the Language,
Programming and Mandate policies receiving the most attention.
Individual vs. Organisational per policy
Ind
cc
es
s
al
A
el
ig
io
n
R
ni
ve
rs
U
am
m
N
ew
s
in
g
Org
Pr
og
r
Ed
uc
at
io
n
La
ng
ua
ge
Lo
ca
lc
on
te
nt
M
an
da
te
50%
45%
40%
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
14
Public consultation
• No substantive changes suggested to Local Content or Universal Access policies.
• 69 comments received on the draft Local Content policy – 5% of total
comments received on all policies.
• 59 comments were received on the Universal Service and Access policy
which amounted to 4% of total comments received on all policies. In real terms,
this policy attracted the least number of specific suggestions – only 9.
• No substantive amendments were therefore proposed to these draft policies.
Changes proposed to the other 6 policies.
Local content policy - comments made
Universal Access policy - comments made
50
50
40
30
57
20
12
General
comments
Specific
recommendations
9
10
0
General comments
Specific
recommendations
15
Agenda
1.
Background
2.
Public consultation
3.
Mandate
4.
Programming
5.
Education
6.
Religion
7.
Language
8.
News
9.
General issues
10.
Summary of commitments
11.
Next steps
16
Mandate
Overview
• Not strictly one of the policies - rather acts as an introduction to the package of
policies
• Outlines SABC understanding of public broadcasting in SA - therefore a critical
background to the policies
• Lays out the core editorial values of the SABC:
• Equality
• Editorial independence
• Nation building
• Diversity
• Human Dignity
• Accountability
• Transparency
• Contains the amended Editorial Code
• Lays out the principles of editorial responsibility and upward referral
17
Mandate
Mandate - comments made
49
41
General
comments
Specific
recommendations
“We support the SABC’s
policy to base its editorial
policies on national objectives
and constitutional values. This
is certainly in line with South
Africa’s challenges as a young
democracy”, Media Review
Network, no. 908
General comments received
• 90 comments were received on the Mandate policy which amounted to 7% of total
comments received. Although more comments were received from individuals than
organisations on this policy (57 from individuals vs 33 from organisations) this is the
only policy where specific recommendations outweighed general comments.
• Comments on the mandate policy focused on upward referral.
18
Mandate
“We strongly recommend that reference to upward referral, particularly as it turns the
CEO into the Editor-in-Chief should be totally discarded. What we suggest is to have
the highest level of referral being the Head of News…” Freedom of Expression
Institute, no. 928
“Much of public discourse on the draft has focused on the issue of upward referral.
Personally, I find the positions articulated in the draft, and in explanatory comment by
the Board and Management, both cogent and logical”. J Netshitenzi, no. 911
“On the matter of upward referral, we believe it is simply normal that a hierarchy of
authority must exist in a journalistic enterprise. A reporter is not the same as an
editor, and editors have rank in turn. The buck stops with the editors-in-chief. But
these should be journalistic staff, not management. Perhaps the solution is as simple
as not referring to the CEO as editor-in-chief, and making the MD news the
mandatory referral point for high impact issues”. Democratic Alliance, no.889
19
Mandate
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
1.
On the issue of upward referral there were contrasting submissions. Some
argued that the current provisions should remain as is while others stated that the
section should be deleted in its entirety. Of the submissions which opposed
upward referral, many argued that the current formulation should be revised to
make it clear that upward referral stops with the editorial heads. These
submissions also felt that it was inappropriate for the GCEO to be referred to as
the Editor-in-Chief
•
It was decided that the voluntary system of upward referral – encouraging
editorial staff to take responsibility for their decisions and to ask for guidance
if unsure, remain.
•
It was decided that the policy make it clear that voluntary upward referral
may go as far as the GCEO who is editor-in-chief.
•
It was decided that the statement that the GCEO is editor-in-chief remain but
that this is clarified to state that this does not mean the CEO is responsible
for day-to-day editorial decisions in either news or programming.
20
Mandate
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
•
It was decided that the sections on mandatory referral be retained but refined.
•
It was decided that the following matters are to be referred to the relevant head
of either Radio or TV News, or programming area concerned or discussed in
advance at daily planning and editorial meetings:
1.
Any instance in which it becomes necessary and is deemed to be in the public
interest to gather information to which the public normally does not have access.
2.
Interviews with criminals or former criminals and people wanted by police.
3.
Any proposal to grant anonymity to anyone trying to evade the law.
4.
Payment for information.
5.
Broadcasting of any recording made originally for other legal purposes, such as a
recording of the proceedings at a meeting.
6.
Disclosure of the details of a serious crime that were obtained surreptitiously or
unofficially.
7.
Requests from external parties to view, listen to, or obtain untransmitted recorded
material.
21
Mandate
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
•
Mandatory referral (cont.)
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
Commissioning of opinion polls on any political issue or issue of public
policy.
National security matters.
Conduct of interviews with prisoners for broadcast without the permission of
prison authorities.
Showing or featuring people in a live broadcast for entertainment purposes
using hidden cameras.
Confronting an interviewee whilst recording, when no prior approach was
made for an interview, and the interviewee has no expectation of being
approached.
Featuring a real person in a drama where their permission, or that of their
surviving relatives has not been secured.
The use of the most offensive language
22
Mandate
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
2.
Submissions were generally supportive of the editorial values although there
was the view that these values should not bind the news division as they would
undermine its independence.
•
3.
There were suggestions that provisions be included on the SABC’s role in
covering Africa and in providing truly national coverage.
•
4.
It was decided that the editorial values should bind all programming
divisions, including news.
It was decided that clauses addressing these issues be included in the
Editorial Code (p6).
There were suggestions that the following provisions in the Code be reworked
to be clearer: privacy, coverage of government, protection of sources.
•
It was decided that there be no principle amendment of these clauses.
23
Agenda
1.
Background
2.
Public consultation
3.
Mandate
4.
Programming
5.
Education
6.
Religion
7.
Language
8.
News
9.
General issues
10.
Next steps
24
Programming
Overview
• Programming policy primarily focused on explaining how we deal with issues such
as the airing of violence, sex and bad language
• This policy will replace the Guidelines on Programme Content which were approved
by Board in 1995
• The policy is now consistent with the new Code of Conduct for Broadcasters and
also applicable to radio
• Areas covered include:
• Language
• Discrimination and stereotypes
• Violence
• Grief and Suffering
• Children.
• Sex and nudity
• Programme complaints etc
25
Programming
Programming policy - comments made
536
64
General
comments
Specific
recommendations
“I am writing to view my shock at what is
aired over 5fm airways during family
friendly hours. A week ago Mark
Gillman said to a 14 year old kid at
about 7am ‘Does your Dad ever take a
swing at you? I hope you have a wall
behind you when he does’. This is
unacceptable and I want to know why
he is allowed to continue with such
behavior”. (Craig French)
General comments received
• 600 comments were received on the Programming policy which amounted to 45%
of total comments received on all policies. 536 of the comments were general in
nature, with only 22 of these general comments from organisations. 64 specific
suggestions were made on the policy.
• There were many complaints about sex, violence, profanity and specific
programme genres such as sci-fi shows.
• Among the general comments were complaints that too many adverts are
broadcast. There were many complaints about the (then) recent changes to SAFM
and there were many appeals for proposed changes to RSG not to be implemented.
26
Programming
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
1.
Submissions asked that the policy should pay more attention to gender
•
It was decided that a specific clause on gender be inserted (p8 of Programming
policy). In terms of this, the SABC undertakes to strive to ensure its
programming does not, when judged within context:
•
•
promote violence against women
•
depict women as passive victims of violence and abuse
•
degrade women and undermine their role and position in society
•
promote sexism and gender inequality
•
reinforce gender oppression and stereotypes
Furthermore, the clause states that the SABC is committed to reflecting and
portraying women in their positive societal roles - as independent, intellectual
beings; as leaders, decision-makers, academics, agents for change, etc – and
to avoid representation of men in roles that bolster gender ascendancy and
stereotypes. Gender balance should be sought – positively and actively - in
programmes, such as those requiring a range of opinions on issues of public
importance.
27
Programming
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
2.
Submissions suggested that the policy needs to provide for operating plans as
the other policies do.
•
3.
As the programming policy underpins all SABC programming, it is difficult
for it to provide for operating plans. Many aspects of the policy are based
on the BCCSA Code, with which SABC services must comply, or face
sanction. The policy also allows for regular reports to be made to top
management and Board, highlighting trends in complaints which will allow
for an evaluation of the extent to which the policy is being complied with. It
was therefore decided that specific operating plans need not be included.
There were suggestions that the watershed be moved later.
•
The watershed period is captured in the industry Code which was
developed by ICASA. The watershed has recently been standardised at
an earlier time – 9pm. The SABC is bound to comply with this period, as
are all free-to-air broadcasters. The SABC believes it might be confusing
for audiences if it were to adopt another watershed period. It was
therefore decided that the watershed period not be moved later.
28
Programming
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
4.
There were suggestions that the policy provide for profanity to be edited out or for
additional provisions on profanity including a dedicated symbol.
•
Both as a matter of principle, and for logistical reasons, the editing out of
profanity is not a viable option. Presently, the “L” symbol is used to indicate
that there is language which might offend – this includes both swearing and
bad language. It is unclear why the “L” symbol is deemed to be inadequate
by pressure groups. The reason may be that the “L” symbol hasn’t always
been rigorously applied.
•
There has recently been industry discussion on a dedicated symbol to warn
audiences about profanity. Both etv and M-Net have indicated that they
would oppose a dedicated symbol.
•
It was decided that a dedicated symbol would not be ideal as it would be
confusing to audiences. Channels also indicated that their acceptance staff
might not have the necessary knowledge to apply a dedicated symbol to
material offensive to religions other than Christianity.
•
It was decided instead that additional clauses on profanity should be
included in the policy stating that it is offensive to many viewers and stating
that the “L” symbol must be applied rigorously and also stating that language
usage should take religious sensitivities into account.
29
Programming
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
5.
There was the view that the policy should provide for an independent ombudsperson.
There was also a suggestion that the BCCSA be asked to administer complaints
against the SABC’s policies. Another suggestion was that members of the public assist
the Broadcast Compliance team or that a toll free number be provided for the lodging of
complaints.
•
As the SABC is already subject to an independent complaints tribunal which
includes nominees from the public, the suggestion of an independent
ombudsperson or the involvement of members of the public was not adopted. The
suggestion of a toll-free number was not supported as the costs proved to be
prohibitive in the past. As the BCCSA may only consider complaints against the
Code of Conduct, it was decided that a clause be inserted stating that complaints
on contravention of the editorial policies should be directed to the Manager:
Broadcast Compliance. In the event of a serious contravention of editorial policy,
or repeated infringement, the matter is referred upwards as follows:
•
General Manager: Policy & Regulatory Affairs
•
Director: SABC Education, Public & Regulatory Affairs, SABC Legal and Head of
editorial area concerned
•
Group Chief Executive Officer
•
SABC Board
30
Programming
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
6.
7.
There were suggestions that the clauses on HIV/ Aids, grieving people and
privacy be reworked.
•
It was decided that a clause specifically dealing with HIV/Aids be inserted.
This deals with the disclosure of HIV status as well as the need for the
public broadcaster to de-stigmatise HIV/AIDS. The fundamental principles
to be applied are that the pandemic should be de-stigmatised, and
members of society should be educated to conduct their sex life
responsibly. The attendant aims should be to encourage communities to
embrace people living with Aids, to create empathy and understanding for
them; not to ostracise the infected, but to accord them dignity as members
of society.
•
It was decided that drafting amendments be made to the clauses on
grieving people and privacy.
There was a suggestion for an additional clause on Africa.
•
It was decided that a clause be inserted stating that as the public
broadcaster we see it as our responsibility to represent Africa and African
stories fairly and diversely.
31
Programming
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
8.
Submissions suggested that the clause on children allow for participation by
children in developing programmes and a commitment to provide a variety of
genres for children.
•
9.
It was decided that the draft policy be amended to reflect the above
suggestions . It was decided that a clause be included stating that
programme makers are encouraged to allow children to participate in the
development of children’s programming in order to ensure relevance.
There was a suggestion that the policy commit to showing less violence.
•
The policy already provides extensive guidelines on the portrayal of
violence, noting that the SABC has a duty not to glamorize or promote
violence but also to depict it when it is an accurate representation of real
events. In light of these provisions, it was decided that no further
commitments in the policy were required.
32
Programming
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
10
Submissions suggested that the policy include a clause stating our approach to
coverage of people with disabilities.
•
It was decided that the draft policy be amended to reflect the above
suggestion. The new clause states that the SABC treats disabilities with
respect and endeavours to access the views of disabled persons and to
represent and highlight issues about disabilities in ways that do not
perpetuate harmful stereotypes.
11. There was a suggestion that the policy have a specific clause on race.
•
It was decided that the draft policy be amended to reflect the above
suggestion. The new clause states that the SABC takes extreme care
when dealing with issues of racism and that the SABC works towards
expanding awareness of race discrimination. The clause also states that
the SABC endeavors to represent issues of race and racism in a manner
that does not perpetuate negative stereotypes.
33
Agenda
1.
Background
2.
Public consultation
3.
Mandate
4.
Programming
5.
Education
6.
Religion
7.
Language
8.
News
9.
General issues
10.
Next steps
34
Education
Overview (1 of 2)
• Replaces Board policy of 1995
• Sets out the framework within which the SABC implements its educational
mandate and responds to the national literacy and skills development challenge
General commitments
• To provide a range of quality educational programming including programmes that
support curriculum based activities of the education and training sectors and
programmes that support public education
•To ensure that PBS stations and channels dedicate adequate airtime to
educational programmes that are scheduled at appropriate times. At least one TV
channel to screen programmes specifically in support of school curricula and this to
be supplemented by PBS radio
• To ensure that commercial services support a culture of lifelong learning through
informal knowledge building initiatives relevant to their target audience and format
• To provide educational programmes in various official languages and sign
language
• To broadcast a significant amount of locally produced educational material
35
Education
Overview (2 of 2)
General commitments (cont)
• To implement a coherent education methodology that incorporates a multimedia
approach
• To supplement educational methodologies through outreach programmes
• To ensure that sufficient resources are dedicated to implement the educational
mandate
Implementation
• SABC will develop action plan which identifies education priorities, including hours
of programming for each of the educational mandate areas. Educational mandate
areas which have been identified are:
• Early childhood development
• Children at Home
• Formal education
• Youth development
• Adult and Human Resources development
• Public Education
36
Education
Education policy - comments made
45
15
General comments
Specific
recommendations
“Children need stimulation in
their own
language...Programmes like
Takalani Sesame should not
have various languages
mixed in one – rather keep
languages separate and
coherent”. N. Oelson, no.556
General comments received
• 60 comments were received on the Education policy which amounted to
4% of the total comments received on all policies.
•There was praise for the SABC’s educational programmes, particularly
Takalani Sesame.
•There were calls for the SABC to provide more educational programmes.
• There were criticisms that some of the SABC’s educational programmes
encourage children to be immoral.
37
Education
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
1.
Submissions said the policy should state the importance of democracy /
citizenship education.
•
2.
This is captured in the policy in the clause on “Public Education”.
There were suggestions that the policy give more emphasis to the portrayal
of women and girl children and that a clause be included on the promotion
of gender equality.
•
This is already dealt with in the “Programming Guidelines” section in
the Education policy and was also addressed through an additional
clause in the Programming policy.
38
Education
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
3.
There was criticism that the policy needs to have specific concrete
measures so that progress can be evaluated.
•
4.
This issue is dealt with in the policy in the clause titled “Guidelines for
Implementation” in which there is a commitment to provide a
measurable annual action plan. This clause has now been moved to a
separate section titled “Monitoring and Implementation”.
There were suggestions that the scheduling of educational programmes is
not careful enough and children are often not available to access these
programmes.

The policy already states that educational programmes must be
broadcast at times which are suitable for the target audience.
39
Education
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
5.
It was suggested the policy should state that extreme caution must be
exercised in sponsoring educational programmes .
•
It was decided that a clause on commercial influence of educational
programmes be inserted:
•
When the nature of the programme requires that it is presented
in whole, or in part, in a setting which simulates a place of
business (for example a supermarket) care must be exercised in
the design of such settings, as well as the properties used, to
reduce identification with particular companies or proprietors.
•
Programmes or programme material produced outside or in
created settings may not be used to carry indirect commercial
advertising.
•
Care should be taken to avoid the exposure of advertising signs
or other commercial identification in programme content. Where
this is impossible, it is the responsibility of the producer or
director or both to play down as much as possible such
extraneous commercial exposure.
40
Agenda
1.
Background
2.
Public consultation
3.
Mandate
4.
Programming
5.
Education
6.
Religion
7.
Language
8.
News
9.
General issues
10.
Next steps
41
Religion
Overview
• Replaces previous Board policy
• Largely consistent with previous policy - two major changes:
• Quotas of airtime for major religious groupings have been taken out of the
policy
• We now state that these quotas are developed on a 3-yearly basis after
consultation with the Religious Broadcast Panel
• We lay out criteria to be considered when determining airtime allocations:
Census data on the % of population in each religious group, the need for
all religions to be reflected in religious programming etc.
• A clause allowing airtime to be purchased by religious groups was inserted,
with a number of checks - detailed operational guidelines to be developed
42
Religion
Religion policy - comments made
115
26
General
comments
“We appreciate to see
programmes of all religions
such as Hindi, Islam etc. But
why should Christianity still
dominate even today?” N
Tshabalala, no. 557
Specific
recommendations
General comments received
•
141 comments were received on the Religion policy which amounted to 10% of
total comments received on all policies
•
10 religious organisations, including the RBP, made submissions.
43
Religion
Specific submissions and decision on final policy
1.
There were suggestions that the policy emphasise “affirmative action” on
certain religions but there were also suggestions that there was no need to
address the past.
•
2.
The draft policy already acknowledges the need to correct past
imbalances in religious broadcasting.
There were suggestions that the only criterion in the policy for allocating airtime
should be the amount of support for each religion and that these quotas be
stated in the policy. However, there was also the submission that the policy
allow for each religion to be treated equally.
•
Relying solely on the amount of support for each religion to determine
airtime allocation, as the previous policy did, does not give the SABC the
flexibility it needs to also achieve other objectives including the objectives
to reflect all religions, to redress past imbalances in religious coverage
and to provide multi-faith programming. Alternatively, providing for equal
coverage of each religion may be too simplistic an approach where there
are vastly differing levels of support for different religious groupings. It
was therefore decided that the position laid out in the draft policy be
maintained.
44
Religion
Specific submissions and decision on final policy
3.
There was both support for and opposition to the policy’s emphasis on
multifaith programmes. The RBP suggested that the policy stipulate that 80%
of each religion’s programming will be made up of faith specific programming.
•
4.
The provision for some multifaith programming is an important facet of the
policy and is grounded in the SABC’s editorial values. It should be noted
that the policy does state that both faith specific and multifaith
programmes will be provided. However, needing to ensure that 80% of
religious programming is made up of faith specific programming will be too
restrictive for our programme makers and may be logistically difficult to
implement. It was therefore decided not to include this percentage
although a clause was introduced stating “multi-faith programmes are in
addition to faith specific programmes”.
There was both support for the concept of paid religious broadcasting and
criticism of this.
•
On the basis that many religious groupings supported the concept of paid
religious broadcasting and that there are checks and balances in the
policy to prevent well-resourced religious groupings dominating SABC airtime, no amendment to the policy on this matter was made.
45
Religion
Specific submissions and decision on final policy
5.
There was the suggestion that the policy specifically commit to showing religion
in prime and shoulder time
•
The policy already gives the undertaking that religious programming will
be broadcast at times when audiences are available and will not be
confined to the fringes of schedules. Given the pressure the SABC faces
in prime time to deliver competitive and mandate compliant programming,
it was decided that no specific commitment for religious programming in
prime time be made.
46
Agenda
1.
Background
2.
Public consultation
3.
Mandate
4.
Programming
5.
Education
6.
Religion
7.
Language
8.
News
9.
General issues
10.
Next steps
47
Language
Overview (1 of 4)
• Replaces the Language Policy of 1995
• Policy is founded on the constitutional imperative to treat all languages
equitably and with respect
• Makes series of clear commitments for radio and TV, formalises many current
practices, e.g. multi-lingual programming, rotation of cognate languages
General commitments
• Commit to maintaining distinct and separate radio services in all official
languages (and to allocate resources fairly to each language service)
• Commit to treating all official languages equitably across the television portfolio,
although we will give more time to more widely spoken languages
• Commit to integrating sign language into programmes
• Commit to accommodate other non-official languages such as Khoi, Nama and
San
48
Language
Overview (2 of 4)
Guidelines on what equitable treatment means:
•
•
•
•
No guidelines in previous policy
Policy lays out how the SABC understands equitability on TV
Means fair, just and reasonable, does not necessarily mean equal time
Has to be achieved while also making sure broadcasts are accessible to as
many viewers as possible - more time for more widely understood languages
• Equitability is achieved through both unilingual and multilingual programming
and by rotating cognate languages
• Is measured by a number of criteria:
• time allocation to different languages
• scheduling of different language programmes when audiences are available
• range of programmes in different languages
• resourcing of programmes in different languages
49
Language
Overview (3 of 4)
Guidelines on time allocation:
• No guidelines for time allocation in previous policy
• Policy now makes explicit the factors that will be taken into account when time
allocations for different languages are devised for TV
• In determining allocations of time to different languages on television, the SABC
has due regard to:
• The number of home language speakers of a language in the coverage
area of a channel
•The geographical spread of the language
•The extent to which members of a language community are able to
understand other languages
•The extent of marginalisation of the language
•The extent to which a language is understood by other South Africans
50
Language
Overview (4 of 4)
Specific commitments
• Radio language services to broadcast news and current affairs, children’s
programmes and educational material
• TV to provide news in all official languages
• TV to also focus on producing drama and children’s educational programmes in
various languages
• Selected TV news and events of national importance to carry sign language - to
be expanded progressively
• Management to submit a language action plan that includes:
• Future goals arising from the policy
• Summary of previous year’s TV airtime per language (including sign
language)
• A summary of the findings of any relevant research conducted
•A summary of professional development programmes implemented to meet
the competence and skills needs of implementing this policy
• A summary of investigations conducted into the use of technology and the
applications of technologies to implement this language policy
• Highlights to be included in Annual Report
51
Language
Language policy - comments made
“We are also tired of being
made fools. Muvhango is not a
Venda drama”. F Mbedzi, no.
575
171
50
General
comments
•
Specific
recommendations
221 comments were received on the draft Language policy – 16% of total
comments received on all policies.
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
1.
Submissions asked that a commitment to a % budget allocation for various
languages be included in the policy.
•
SABC budgets do not work in this way and, in multi-lingual programming
especially it would be difficult to reconcile the % of total budget spent on
each language. It was decided not to include such a clause.
52
Language
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
2.
Submissions called for the policy to commit to targets of airtime for each
language.
•
Committing to targets per language in the policy would be too restrictive.
The nature of television, in particular, means that channels must have as
flexible an environment as possible in order to be able to schedule
competitively. Rather than setting specific targets for each language and
each genre, the policy therefore allows for management to propose to
Board on an annual basis, future goals arising from the policy. The policy
also allows for a report to Board, giving an account of the performance on
language in the previous year. It was therefore decided that targets per
language not be included.
53
Language
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
3.
Deaf organisations made the submission that the policy should reflect that a
holistic approach is needed for meeting the needs of the deaf and that sign
language alone is not good enough. There was also the suggestion that the
policy commit to providing sub-titles in all official languages.
•
5.
The policy now makes reference to closed captioning and the need for a
holistic approach to meeting the needs of the deaf. On the suggestion that
the policy commit to providing sub-titles in each official language it was
decided that a promise not be made on this due to the resource
implications of implementing such a policy.
On the issue of time allocation for languages many submissions suggested that
the only criterion should be the size of the language grouping or that the policy
should make it clear that this criterion is more important than others.
•
While the size of language groupings is a key criterion in determining time
allocation for different languages on television, to make it the only or most
important criterion would be simplistic and in particular would mean that
the SABC would be constrained in its actions on marginalised languages.
The preferred approach is one whereby the SABC weighs up a number of
criteria in order to determine a fair and equitable time allocation.
54
Language
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
6.
There was the view that the policy should commit to historical redress for
languages previously marginalised and that the policy should lay out specific
actions on marginalised languages.
•
7.
On the guidelines on equitability, submissions argued that the guidelines were
not sufficiently clear and needed to be more detailed.
•
8.
The policy already makes a number of references to the need for
specialized action on previously and currently marginalised languages. A
report on actions taken on marginalised languages would be included in
the management report to Board.
It would not be appropriate to include more detailed guidelines in the
policy, as some submissions have called for. The policy should provide
over-arching principles rather than a detailed implementation plan. For
this reason the policy should not explain which languages will appear in
prime time and when and how different languages will be rotated.
There was the suggestion that the policy also include reference to Indian
languages like Hindi and Tamil etc.
•
The draft policy gives special mention to those languages mentioned in
the Constitution, i.e. the Khoi, Nama and San languages.
55
Language
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
9.
There was the view that the policy should commit to providing a range of
programmes in each language.
•
The policy already makes this commitment. No further clause is recommended.
10. There was the suggestion that the policy be reviewed every year, and not every 5
years.
•
Reviewing the policy every year would be onerous on management and Board
and would not allow for the stability needed to implement the policy. The draft
policy allows for Board to consider performance against the policy every year.
The 5-year period has also been standardized across each policy which would
mean that if this change were made, each policy may have to be reviewed
every year. It was therefore decided not to include this suggestion.
11. It was suggested that the policy commit to covering events of national importance in
at least 6 languages, as provided for in the National Language Policy Framework.
•
It was decided that a clause be inserted stating that the SABC will strive, where
possible, to broadcast Events of National Importance in the 6 language groups
as provided for in the National Language Policy Framework.
56
Language
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
12. Submissions suggested that the grouping of cognate languages together be
approached with caution and that the policy reflect this.
•
The policy does not rely exclusively on the use of cognate languages to
achieve equitability. The policy merely states this is one of many
mechanisms used to achieve equitability.
13. There was a suggestion that the policy allow for SABC language committees to
be re-established.
•
It was decided that the language committees not be reinstated due to the
resource implications. However, Board may need to consider some form
of alternative mechanism such as developing relationships with
institutions to assist in this regard or developing a network of language
advisors in and outside the Corporation. It was decided that this did not
necessarily need to be reflected in the policy.
57
Agenda
1.
Background
2.
Public consultation
3.
Mandate
4.
Programming
5.
Education
6.
Religion
7.
Language
8.
News
9.
General issues
10.
Next steps
58
News
Overview (1 of 2)
• Explains the SABC’s role in providing meaningful news, current affairs and
information programmes from a South African perspective
• Sets out the following commitments for news practice:
• We do not allow advertising, commercial, political or personal issues to
influence our news
• We include a range of different views on issues
• We respect people’s right to reply to criticism
• We correct mistakes as soon as possible
• We do not use language that is sexist, racist or discriminates against any
person or group
• We always check information and confirm the accuracy of any report
59
News
Overview (2 of 2)
• We try to ensure fair gender representation – and seek out the views of women
• We protect people who provide us with information. If a court orders us to
identify a source of information, we support the journalist’s decision and provide
them with legal help
• We respect people’s right to privacy – unless it is in the public interest to reveal
information
• We cover accidents and disaster with compassion. We do not show footage of
the dead unless there are compelling reasons to do so
• We give full or extended live coverage to events of national importance
• During elections the SABC makes sure that voters are given sufficient
information to enable them to make informed choices about who to vote for
• We comply with the restrictions on the sponsorship of news and current affairs
programmes
60
News
News policy - comments made
“The working class hardly ever
makes it onto SABC news and
current affairs programmes”.
COSATU, no.886
95
24
General
comments
Specific
recommendations
“The news footage of violence
death and destruction needs to be
kept to an absolute minimum”. B
Richert, no. 591
General comments received
• 119 comments were received on the News policy which amounted to 9% of total
comments received.
• There were many calls for CNN to be brought back and for the SABC 3 news to be
moved back to 8pm. (These comments are probably indicative of the fact that the
policy process took place at the same time as these issues were being dealt with).
•There were calls for non-Western news networks such as Al Jazeera to also be
used by the SABC but there was also opposition to such networks.
•There were criticisms of the SABC’s news coverage of certain provinces,
particularly the more rural ones.
61
News
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
1.
There were calls for more positive news stories to be given airtime and there
were appeals for less violence in news bulletins, and context and explanation
when covering crime. There were suggestions that the policy should provide for
more positive coverage, particularly of government initiatives.
•
The policy already recognises the important role played by news and current
affairs in human, social and economic growth and development, especially in
societies such as ours, and that news and current affairs can be a catalyst for
positive and progressive development and change. It was decided that this
adequately covers the matters relating to covering positive stories and
government. In respect of reporting crime it was decided that a clause be
included to cover this.
62
News
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
2.
It was suggested that the policy should explain how conflicts of interest are to
be dealt with and the SABC’s approach to reporting on itself.
•
It was decided to include a clause on how coverage of the SABC as a news
worthy subject will be dealt with. The policy now also provides for the news
division to formulate their own, more detailed guidelines on conflicts of interest.
3.
•
It was suggested that the policy include a clause on the coverage of Africa.
It was decided that an appropriate clause be included on the importance of
sourcing and reporting the African story, in its context, complexity and diversity,
and with balance and fairness.
63
News
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
4.
It was suggested the policy should not refer to the role of news in nationbuilding as this is more appropriately the role of the state.
•
Our policies in their current formulation recognise the important and
fundamental role played by the SABC in a range of national matters such as
national identity and nation building, and it was therefore decided that there
was no need to change from these.
5.
There were calls for clarity on matters such as “due impartiality”, how
controversial matters are to be dealt with and reporting between elections.
•
The policy already deals with these matters and it was therefore decided that
no additional clauses on this were needed. Some refinements were made to
the elections clause.
64
News
Specific suggestions and decision on final policy
6.
There were calls for better coverage of provinces, especially rural ones, and
non-urban stories.
•
It was decided that an appropriate clause be inserted to take account of this
important sentiment.
7.
There were suggestions that the policy makes provision for training.
•
It was decided that a clause be inserted as an introduction to all the policies,
highlighting the SABC’s commitment to the highest professional and ethical
standards, the SABC’s demand from its staff for the highest quality of
programming, the challenges presented by these policies, and the requisite
requirement for investment in professional development, and the essential reprofessionalisation of staff at the SABC.
65
Agenda
1.
Background
2.
Public consultation
3.
Programming
4.
Education
5.
Religion
6.
Language
7.
Mandate
8.
News
9.
General issues
10.
Next steps
66
General issues
1.
Decision that the annual 3-year action plan are not retained (in the Language,
Universal Access and Education policies).

Some have found it confusing – better to commit to providing annual
action plan.
2.
Decision that the effective date for the policies was 1 April 2004 to allow for
training programme. However aspects of the policies would become effective
sooner – especially those impacting on election coverage.
3.
The policies will stand for 5 years
4.
The Editorial Policies are now the framework against which all staff decisions
need to be tested.
67
Agenda
1.
Background
2.
Public consultation
3.
Programming
4.
Education
5.
Religion
6.
Language
7.
Mandate
8.
News
9.
General issues
10.
Summary of commitments
11.
Next steps
68
Agenda
1.
Background
2.
Public consultation
3.
Programming
4.
Education
5.
Religion
6.
Language
7.
Mandate
8.
News
9.
General issues
10.
Summary of commitments
11.
What the editorial policies mean for staff
69
What the policies mean for staff

The editorial policies have been adopted by the SABC Board. Every member of
the editorial staff, in the regions, at head office and overseas, is required to
study, understand, observe and implement the editorial policies.

The policies are intended to help staff negotiate difficult editorial issues and
decisions to ensure that distinctive and compelling – even controversial –
programmes can be produced and broadcast, while maintaining the highest
ethical and editorial standards.

The policies emphasise that responsibility for editorial decisions rests with
editorial staff.

Policy and Regulatory Affairs is available to provide clarification on any aspect
of the policies.

Policy and Regulatory Affairs will handle complaints about violations of the
policies. Serious infringements will be reported to GE and Board.
70
Thank you!
Fakir Hassen
Manager: Broadcast Compliance
011-714-3728
[email protected]
71
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