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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Public servant or censor? The South African Broadcasting Corporation in the era of political television advertising
Authors:Chiumbu, SarahISNI
Ciaglia, Antonio
Year:2015
Periodical:Journal of African Elections (ISSN 1609-4700)
Volume:14
Issue:1
Pages:149-170
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:elections
2014
advertising
television
media policy
freedom of speech
Abstract:Political television advertizing is becoming an important feature of democratic elections and essential to election campaign strategies. In this article the authors take a close look at the role the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is playing in the new era of political television advertizing ushered in 2009. They focus their analysis on the banning by the SABC of election advertisements by two major opposition political parties before the 2014 elections. The country's regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) upheld the decision of the SABC when the two parties filed complaints. The banning of the advertisements and Icasa's decision are assessed on two important principles for public broadcasting - editorial independence and public accountability. The authors argue in this article that the action by the public broadcaster undermines freedom of expression and the credibility of both the SABC and Icasa, especially when contextualized within other controversial editorial decisions taken by the broadcaster over the years. Further, they argue that laws governing political advertizing in South Africa are constitutionally problematic and contain contradictions in how they should be applied and implemented by both broadcasters and Icasa. The authors conclude by arguing for a review of these laws. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]
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