SABC launches revised editorial policies, legal action looms

Labour Union, the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) has threatened to lodge a dispute against the SABC’s revised editorial policies. The policies were launched on Friday, three years after a policy review was initiated.

They address various areas of content management, including news and programming. The public broadcaster says they follow  extensive public consultations and are in line with the Broadcasting Act. However, Bemawu’s Hannes du Boisson says the union was not consulted on the policy nor its launch.

“The policy management framework invalidates any policy that has not followed the prescripts of that policy management framework. We thought such an important policy such as the editorial policy would have been widely consulted upon, in particular with the editorial staff. The SABC has not consulted with anyone in the SABC and we are not aware of consultations outside the SABC in respect of this policy; this policy is therefore invalid.”

Bemawu’s gripe comes amid a standoff over looming retrenchments at the public broadcaster.

The SABC says its revised policies take into account changes in the broadcasting environment, public interest obligations and evolving content consumption patterns and audience preferences. The next review of the policies will done in five years.