Thursday, May 28, 2009

Zapiro show banned by SABC

The show the SABC won't put on air. Watch the uncut version of the Special Assignment documentary on political satire.

The Mail & Guardian Online says: We can now bring you the documentary on political satire that the South African Broadcasting Corporation has been sitting on since before the elections in April. This version is an uncut work in progress. As such, it does not have the presenter's voiceover.

To view the documentary, click here.

Pulling Zapiro doccie symptomatic of what is wrong with the SABC - Michael Trapido (Thoughtleader)

Zapiro programme banned by SABC now on web

Show on political satire published online after state broadcaster's second refusal to air it.

(Sapa) - An SABC programme on political satire has been downloaded 3500 times since it was posted on the Mail & Guardian's website at 2.30pm on Wednesday.

"It's almost brought the site down due to the number of hits we're getting. It's still loading, just very slowly," said M&G Online technical manager Jason Norwood-Young.

On Tuesday night the SABC backed off airing the Special Assignment episode, the second time it had done so.

"We were expecting a fair amount of interest, but probably spread out more. I thought it would be big tomorrow [Thursday] but it's obviously picked up quickly."

The documentary appears on the website without narration or voiceover, suggesting that what had been posted may not be the final version of the show.

It has interviews with Zapiro, the pen-name of cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, and ANC spokeswoman Jesse Duarte.

Perhaps most significantly, it shows a Zapiro cartoon of then-ANC president Jacob Zuma about to rape a depiction of 'Lady Justice' while she is held down by his political allies. That cartoon unleashed a storm of controversy at the time of its publication, as Zuma was involved in a court bid to have his corruption charges dropped.

In defence of the cartoon, Zapiro says: "Many of the things I had said in that cartoon had been said in print for months... but when that image appeared all hell broke loose."

Zapiro is currently being sued by Zuma for libel. Zuma contends the cartoons are an attack on his dignity.

Duarte appears to defend the Zuma's legal action and his large damages claim.

"There's no value one can put to human rights and human dignity.

So executing the highest possible punitive measure is important.

"It is not okay to draw Jacob Zuma with a shower on his head." Zapiro began depicting Zuma with a shower on his head following his acquittal on a rape charge in 2006. Zuma testified that he had had unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman and took a shower afterwards to minimise the risk of HIV infection.

"Jonathan Shapiro took a comment in a court case out of context, and began to put a derogatory image of the president of the ANC with a shower coming out of his head and thought it would be funny," Duarte said.

The programme was suspended for a second time on Tuesday evening. In a short statement released an hour before the show was scheduled to be broadcast, SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said:

"Tonight's episode of Special Assignment will not be aired owing to the fact that due process with regards to consultation has not been concluded.

"Because of the problems encountered previously with this particular episode, the acting group CEO Mr Gab Mampone in his capacity as editor-in-chief will need to make the final sign-off."

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Congress of the People KwaZulu-Natal weighed in on the controversy with a condemnation of the programme's suspension.

"Why has it become a political blasphemy to criticise or cartoon (President) Jacob Zuma, (SA Communist Party general secretary) Blade Nzimande, the Congress of SA Trade Unions and the SACP?" asked spokesman Siyanda Mhlongo.

"That is why we have many people switching to commercial [television] because the SABC is now an ideological instrument of the ruling party. It is controlled and manipulated by the ANC."

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