SABC cans 'compromising' Big Debate

2013-10-18 12:17
the big debate,sabc2
Cape Town – The SABC says its current affairs talk show The Big Debate on SABC2 was canned because it was wrongly outsourced and in the process compromised the SABC newsroom.

Furore and controversy erupted on Thursday evening hours before the second season of The Big Debate with the award-winning journalist Siki Mgabadeli was supposed to start on SABC2 at 21:30. She vented that The Big Debate has "unfortunately been pulled off the air" and that neither she nor the producers know why.

The SABC's famously matricless acting chief operating officer (COO) ordered the hard-hitting weekly town hall format talk show off of the public broadcaster's air after two episodes were already filmed. The second season was supposed to start on Thursday.

Motsoeneng also ordered the repeats of the first season of The Big Debate which has been running since September in the run-up to the launch of the second season to be scrubbed from SABC2's schedule.

'No mistake'

Ironically the pulled episode of The Big Debate on Thursday night on SABC2 had the topic of the right to communicate. The Big Debate timeslot has been filled with rebroadcasts of Speak Out.

"I cannot express how angry I am now," said Mgabadeli who said that there was "no reasons given. Just told it's being pulled".

Mgabadeli said it's "no mistake" that The Big Debate has been pulled off of the SABC2 schedule. "We've been told, no more airing of the show".

The SABC's spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago told Channel24 on Friday morning that "it is  against the policies of the SABC to outsource news and current affairs".

He says "editorial responsibility for all news and current affairs content is vested in the newsroom".

"The Big Debate, which is a current affairs programme, was incorrectly commissioned by SABC2, and in so doing, the editorial oversight, which is the responsibility of the newsroom, was compromised. This is all we are prepared to say on the matter,” said Kganyago.

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