A Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee says the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) should adhere to the highest standards of journalism and editorial independence and that an environment free of intimidation should also prevail.

This recommendation is contained in a working document of the ad hoc committee, which was set up to conduct an inquiry into the SABC Board, whose non-executive members have all resigned . The report be discussed on Thursday.

The working document makes more than 40 recommendations following the inquiry by the ad hoc committee, which recommends that journalism standards and editorial independence should be uppermost.

Another recommendation is for the public broadcaster to ensure that its audience regains the confidence and to ensure that public information interest, entertainment and educational programmes are credible and reliable.

A further recommendation says “the SABC Board must ensure that an environment free of intimidation and abuse of power must prevail at the Public Broadcaster”.

The committee has also recommended that the dissolution of the public broadcaster’s board should be finalised urgently. It also wants the incoming interim board to investigate all irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure at the SABC.

It recommends that on conclusion of the investigation, the Interim SABC Board to be appointed should take appropriate action against employees who incurred and permitted irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. Another recommendation is that steps must be taken to recover fruitless and wasteful expenditure where it can be recovered.

It also recommends that the Accounting Authority should ensure the filling of all critical vacant positions in Financial Management and Human Resources.

The report classified the SABC’s agreement with MultiChoice, a video entertainment and Internet company, under the section which deals with “suspicious deals”.

It recommends that “the SABC Board must institute a forensic audit into the agreement that resulted in the transfer of part of the (SABC) archives to a private monopoly.

“This is with the specific aim of considering the annulment of the agreement in the event of evidence of any improper activities by the contracting parties, it adds.