The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) has condemned the violent riots, which have left some of the community radio stations in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal wrecked.
The GCIS has spoken against the acts of criminality that destroyed Alex FM, Westside FM, and Mamelodi FM.
Meanwhile, the GCIS said it has learnt that other community radio stations have also been dealt a blow by the on-going violent protests and looting, including Intokozo FM, based in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal.
GCIS Acting Director-General, Michael Currin, has since expressed sadness over the brutal acts that left some of the community-based radio stations and other important institutions of this country damaged.
“We are sad to hear of more damages that have been caused to community radio property. GCIS understands that some of these stations have now been taken off air, which is very unfortunate considering the role that community radio stations play in forging social change and uplifting communities.”
Since 2008, Currin said GCIS has created a direct working relationship with community radio entities across South Africa because government understands and believes in what they stand for.
He also highlighted the important role that community radio stations play in a democratic society and promoting social change.
“The media at large plays a crucial role to the economic and political development of citizens and it creates a broad range of information to stimulate citizens on the various developmental issues in their country,” he said on Wednesday.
“The media is one of the pillars of our democracy and it remains an integral part of human civilization, and community media serves as a viable platform for the public to participate in the democratic process by expressing their views and opinions.”
The GCIS said the State will act to protect every person against the threat of violence, including the media.
“The law enforcement officials will not hesitate to arrest and prosecute perpetrators. During this time of violent protests and looting, government will not allow humanity and dignity to be taken from any South African.”
It has since urged South Africans to unite in creating a better future for all by remaining calm, exercising restraint, and resisting any attempts to incite violence, create panic, or fuel divisions.
It said government notes continued efforts by the media to provide the nation with up-to-date information about issues unfolding in our society.
“Government also calls upon the media to use their channels and influence to assist government in restoring law and order.”