Allegations of partisan politics at SBC

The public and members of the media are very concerned following information coming out that the main public broadcaster SBC is dabbling into partisan politics. SBC has always been at the receiving end of complaints that it is biased in favor of government. This was especially the case in the days when Mr. Ibrahim Afif and later Mr. Antoine Onezime were in charge of SBC. There was even a march by the opposition in 2016 asking for SBC to become truly independent.Many felt this would be achieved when a new management and board of directors took over at SBC, but unfortunately as the political scenario heats up with the elections on the horizon next month; the allegations have resurfaced. There is talk that the pendulum has now swayed completely to the other side and that SBC is now favoring the main party in the opposition in its coverage.

The matter has got to a point that even the ruling party United Seychelles has written to SBC’s CEO to protest. The US CEO Andy Jean Louis spelt out his party’s discontent at the way they feel that President Faure who is also their candidate for the Presidential election is being disfavored in news reporting at SBC. The US made specific reference to the SBC’s refusal to cover the handing over of the new housing estate at Anse Aux Pins where President Faure was in attendance because they say it was election campaigning.

At the same time there has been furor over the way SBC has covered the methadone programme review meeting, where again president Faure was participating but extracts of his interventions were allegedly removed from the news item; while at the same time an opposition presidential candidate was interviewed on the topic and his opinion was broadcasted.On Saturday the SBC CEO Joachim Dupres featured in the news bulletins where he refuted all allegations of favoritism and partisan bias. He claimed that his office has received complaints from both sides of the political divide and all are accusing SBC of favoring the other. He claims SBC is totally impartial. Needless to say the jury is still out on that one!