ICASA Finds SABC Guilty of Discrimination Against DA in ‘Burning Flag’ Ad Case, Suggests R500K Fine

ICASA Finds SABC Guilty of Discrimination Against DA in ‘Burning Flag’ Ad Case, Suggests R500K Fine

  • The Independent Communications Authority has determined that the SABC's decision not to broadcast the Democratic Alliance's(DA) 'burning flag' ad had no legal basis
  • Icasa’s complaints and compliance committee (CCC) has recommended that the public broadcaster be fined R500,000 for breaching the regulations
  • The advert in question depicts the South African national flag burning and then unfurling as fully restored with the narration campaigning for the DA

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Trisha Pillay is a Briefly News current affairs journalist in Johannesburg. With degrees in Journalism and International Politics, she delved into the intricacies of political landscapes at The Citizen newspaper, African News Network, and Newzroom Afrika. Pillay has also completed a training course from Google News Initiative.

The SABC has to air the 'burning flag' advert
ICASA has found the SABC guilty of discrimination against the DA. Images: @Democratic Alliance and @Mosininety
Source: Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The ICASA’s Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC) has recommended that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) should be fined half a million rand.

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SABC found guilty

This was after the public broadcaster refused to air the Democratic Alliance (DA)’s advertisement. According to the SABC, the CCC found that the public broadcaster's refusal to air the DA’s political ad had no legal basis under the Electronic Communication Act or regulation.

Earlier in the month, DA leader John Steenhuisen argued that the SABC's decision not to air the advertisement was politically motivated. He stated that the SABC’s stance violated the right to freedom of speech.

On April 26, the SABC sent correspondence to the DA requesting the party alter the advert by removing the burning flag. The DA did not listen to the request, so the SABC refused to broadcast it and informed the political party on May 9. This led to the DA's urgent complaint against the SABC on May 10.

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Mzansi divided

The ruling has divided South Africans after the SABC was criticised for refusing to air an advert that burns a flag representing the democratic country after apartheid.

Here are some of the reactions:

@Tshepo Rsa commented:

"DA is here to rescue South Africa from cANCer. We pledge our trust in them."

@Mthoko Mthokos shared:

"Please tell your DA people to stop sending us messages."

@Pravesh Singh laughed:

"Only gullible people will believe and trust a politician."

@Vulindlela Ndlela asked:

"When are you going to play a DA ADVERT?."

@Herman Haarman commented:

"They can never make me love you Wena DA. Aish mara."

@Nkosinathi Dlamini shared:

"DA Runs South Africa though they are not in power. Their boss is running all the strategic positions of the country."

@Ramorwa Sekeleko explained:

"So what does this mean to the nation at large? Why would they do this? They burned our flag."

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DA accuses ANC of suppressing the party

In a related story, Briefly News reports that the DA has accused the ANC of trying to suppress their creativity by banning the advert from being aired on SABC.

The party noted that the ANC feared losing its influence over the station's decision.

SABC decided to ban the ad from being aired, citing that its content could harm its reputation and interests.

Source: Briefly News

Trisha Pillay avatar

Trisha Pillay (Weekend current affairs editor) Trisha Pillay is a Current Affairs writer at Briefly News. She has a degree in Journalism from the University of Johannesburg and an Honours degree in International Politics from UNISA. She joined ENCA straight out of varsity and completed an internship at the channel. Pillay later went on to cover politics, crime, entertainment, and current affairs at the Citizen Newspaper. She joined Newzroom Afrika in 2019 and became a senior bulletin editor for shows focused on politics and current affairs on the channel. She joined Briefly News in 2023. You can contact her at trisha.pillay@briefly.co.za

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