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Presentation on Final Editorial Policies August 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation on Final Editorial Policies August 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presentation on Final Editorial Policies August 2004

2 2 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

3 3 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 Background

4 4 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be expected from the SABC as a public broadcaster Some policies will replace existing policies from 1995 which are now outdated while others are new Background

5 5 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

6 6 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

7 7 Agenda 1.Background 2.Public consultation 3.Programming 4.Education 5.Religion 6.Language 7.Mandate 8.News 9.General issues 10.Next steps

8 8 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 Public consultation

9 9 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 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 , fax or post Public consultation

10 10 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.

11 11 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. Public consultation

12 12 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. Public consultation

13 13 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. Public consultation

14 14 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. Public consultation

15 15 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. Public consultation

16 16 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

17 17 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

18 18 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. Mandate “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

19 19 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

20 20 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. Mandate

21 21 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. Mandate

22 22 Specific suggestions and decision on final policy Mandatory referral (cont.) 8.Commissioning of opinion polls on any political issue or issue of public policy. 9.National security matters. 10.Conduct of interviews with prisoners for broadcast without the permission of prison authorities. 11.Showing or featuring people in a live broadcast for entertainment purposes using hidden cameras. 12.Confronting an interviewee whilst recording, when no prior approach was made for an interview, and the interviewee has no expectation of being approached. 13.Featuring a real person in a drama where their permission, or that of their surviving relatives has not been secured. 14.The use of the most offensive language Mandate

23 23 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. It was decided that the editorial values should bind all programming divisions, including news. 3.There were suggestions that provisions be included on the SABC’s role in covering Africa and in providing truly national coverage. It was decided that clauses addressing these issues be included in the Editorial Code (p6). 4.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. Mandate Specific suggestions and decision on final policy

24 24 Agenda 1.Background 2.Public consultation 3.Mandate 4.Programming 5.Education 6.Religion 7.Language 8.News 9.General issues 10.Next steps

25 25 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

26 26 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. Programming “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)

27 27 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. Programming

28 28 Specific suggestions and decision on final policy 2.Submissions suggested that the policy needs to provide for operating plans as the other policies do. 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. 3.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. Programming

29 29 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. Programming

30 30 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 Programming

31 31 Specific suggestions and decision on final policy 6.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. 7.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. Programming

32 32 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. 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. 9.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. Programming

33 33 Specific suggestions and decision on final policy 10Submissions 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. Programming

34 34 Agenda 1.Background 2.Public consultation 3.Mandate 4.Programming 5.Education 6.Religion 7.Language 8.News 9.General issues 10.Next steps

35 35 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

36 36 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

37 37 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. Education “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

38 38 Specific suggestions and decision on final policy 1.Submissions said the policy should state the importance of democracy / citizenship education. This is captured in the policy in the clause on “Public Education”. 2.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. Education

39 39 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. 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”. 4.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. Education

40 40 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. Education

41 41 Agenda 1.Background 2.Public consultation 3.Mandate 4.Programming 5.Education 6.Religion 7.Language 8.News 9.General issues 10.Next steps

42 42 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

43 43 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. Religion “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

44 44 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. The draft policy already acknowledges the need to correct past imbalances in religious broadcasting. 2.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. Religion

45 45 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. 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”. 4.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 air- time, no amendment to the policy on this matter was made. Religion

46 46 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. Religion

47 47 Agenda 1.Background 2.Public consultation 3.Mandate 4.Programming 5.Education 6.Religion 7.Language 8.News 9.General issues 10.Next steps

48 48 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

49 49 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

50 50 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

51 51 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

52 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. Language “We are also tired of being made fools. Muvhango is not a Venda drama”. F Mbedzi, no. 575

53 53 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. Language

54 54 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. 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. 5.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. Language

55 55 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. 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. 7.On the guidelines on equitability, submissions argued that the guidelines were not sufficiently clear and needed to be more detailed. 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. 8.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. Language

56 56 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. Language

57 57 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. Language

58 58 Agenda 1.Background 2.Public consultation 3.Mandate 4.Programming 5.Education 6.Religion 7.Language 8.News 9.General issues 10.Next steps

59 59 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

60 60 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

61 61 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. News “The working class hardly ever makes it onto SABC news and current affairs programmes”. COSATU, no.886 “The news footage of violence death and destruction needs to be kept to an absolute minimum”. B Richert, no. 591

62 62 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. News

63 63 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. News

64 64 Specific suggestions and decision on final policy 4.It was suggested the policy should not refer to the role of news in nation- building 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. News

65 65 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 re- professionalisation of staff at the SABC. News

66 66 Agenda 1.Background 2.Public consultation 3.Programming 4.Education 5.Religion 6.Language 7.Mandate 8.News 9.General issues 10.Next steps

67 67 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. General issues

68 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.Next steps

69 69 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

70 70  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. What the policies mean for staff

71 71 Thank you! Fakir Hassen Manager: Broadcast Compliance


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