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Report Says Critics of Harare Blacklisted by South African Broadcasting

The South African Broadcasting Corporation established a blacklist of members of the Zimbabwean opposition, or South Africans critical of the government of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who were not to be given coverage by the network, said a commission of inquiry that Pretoria appointed to look into the matter.

The blacklist included Mail and Guardian and Zimbabwe Independent publisher Trevor Ncube, Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo and Zimbabwean-born political activist Elinor Sisulu, the report said. Also listed was Moeletsi Mbeki, brother of South African President Thabo Mbeki, often critical of the Harare government.

At the center of the controversy is SABC Managing Director Snuki Zikalala, who was quoted by the Mail & Guardian as saying that publisher Ncube did not need the SABC platform because "every Friday in his newspaper...he smashes Zimbabwe."

Zikalala explained that, "I said let’s get a different voice, not a Mail & Guardian voice." He said the information in Ncube's paper was "biased and not balanced."

Other people on the blacklist are South African political commentator Aubrey Matshiqi, Sipho Seepe and freelance journalist Paula Slier. The network said that despite the findings against Zikalala, it remains confident in his leadership.

But former SABC news and current affairs chief Francis Mdlongwa, now director of the Sol Plaatje Institute for Media Leadership at Rhodes University, told Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the scandal surprised many South Africans.

More reports From VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...