The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has
requested this meeting with the South African Broadcasting
Corporation (SABC) to discuss and elaborate on our concern that
we are not receiving fair and non-discriminatory treatment from
As the public broadcaster, the SABC has a
statutory responsibility to provide balanced and fair coverage
to all political parties. Our engagement today is intended to be
a positive gesture, with the intention of finding positive
solutions to our concerns.
Not only is this of immediate importance
to the IFP, but we contend that this is also the raison díÍtre
of what it means to live in a democratic and free society in
which a diversity and multiplicity of viewpoints are both heard
This is of particular relevance in a
society in which the voice of the majority was brutally and
systematically silenced and that it is seeking to eradicate from
its midst the apartheid legacy of totalitarianism, prejudice and
The IFP concerns are:
i. The coverage of the IFP in Parliament
is woefully inadequate for the nationís third largest
political party. There is a distinct lack of coverage of IFP
leadersí statements in reaction to spokespersons of the
government and ruling party.
ii. The coverage of IFP meetings,
conferences, rallies and forums is scant and often non-existent.
iii. There are rumours that SABC staffers
have been instructed to downgrade and not even cover the IFPís
political activities. We seek an unequivocal clarification on
iv. The launch of the African National
Congressís (ANCís) election campaign in 2004 was covered
live on television and radio. The IFP, like other opposition
parties, did not receive remotely similar treatment.
v. Despite the IFPís strong presence in
the province of KwaZulu-Natal, coverage of the Party and its
leaders is usually patchy and inadequate.
vi. An example which can be cited was the
SABCís failure to fulfil its undertaking to broadcast Prince
Mangosuthu Butheleziís speech to the IFP General Conference
vii. IFP government ministers in
KwaZulu-Natal are not given the same treatment as ANC ministers,
even when the SABC are invited well in advance and an offer of
transport is made.
viii. When IFP events are broadcast, the
commentary and voice over are often not objective and are biased
against the IFP. Rather than simply transmitting the event in an
unvarnished manner, a voice over often blocks out the event or
speaker with a commentary or opinion.
ix. When IFP leaders and spokespersons are
requested to give interviews, or participate in debates, they
are usually only informed at the last moment. This means that is
difficult for them to re-arrange their diary commitments and
make the necessary logistical and transport arrangements.
x. More often than not IFP leaders and
spokespersons are not even invited to participate in programmes,
panel discussions, or to give their perspective on current
xi. Documentaries produced and transmitted
by the SABC are often biased and prejudiced against the IFP. An
example is MOLO-FISH, which simply focuses on the long history
of the ANC. Another is the re-run of the nineties documentary,
THE LINE which depicts the IFP as aggressive and violent. In the
democratic dispensation, this can only reinforce political
propaganda against the IFP.
xii. There is a clear trend that ANC
supporters are being appointed as SABC staffers, thereby
compromising the independence of the SABC as a non-partisan
public broadcaster, thus running the risk of becoming a
mouthpiece of the ruling-party.
xiii. In particular, the IFP is concerned
that radio stations, such as UKHOZI RADIO, are appointing
personalities and presenters who are well known for their
political sympathies to the ANC, and antipathy towards the IFP.
This is unacceptable in a democracy. The normal practice in most
democracies is that presenters, at least, conceal their private