“We need to regulate media generally,” said Hlaudi Motsoeneng during a heated discussion about the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation), at this morning’s opening session of the Joburg’s Radio Days conference at Wits University.
The SABC acting COO (Chief Operations Office), added that “if you are a journalist and you don’t have ethics and you mislead […] we need to take your license.”
Motsoeneng was part of panel of speakers that included Prof Anton Harber, head of Wits Journalism and SOS Support Public Broadcasting coordinator Sekoetlane Phamodi.
The session was titled “20 years of democratic public radio” but quickly shifted focus to the SABC and its mandate as a public broadcaster.
Harber set the tone for the discussion by reflecting on the ideal-typical role of a public broadcaster in a democracy. In reference to South Africa’s public broadcaster he said, “Why does the SABC seldom produce good journalism and not set a high bar for quality journalism?”
Phamodi spoke about maladministration at executive levels of the SABC and said, “What happens right at the top of the SABC really does filter down the value chain of the SABC and into our homes.”
Motsoeneng, clearly upset by some of the comments of his fellow panelists, referred to Harber and Phamodi as “people who talk about what they think and not what they know.”
Listen to some of Motsoeneng’s comments here.
Motsoeneng said the SABC is one of the best run organisations in the country and said that he will continue to insist on 70% of good news at the SABC.
“Let me tell what we have done, and you don’t need a degree to do this, you need a brain … You need to be a visionary, you need to have a strategy.”
Motsoeneng said that in order to undo the “brainwashing” that journalism students undergo at university-based journalism schools, the SABC will establish a school to train its own journalists.
Follow our live blog of the conference here.