SABC journos suspended after disagreement on protest footage policy

The three were allegedly suspended after disagreeing with an instruction not to cover a R2K campaign protest.


JOHANNESBURG - At least three SABC senior journalists have been suspended.

They were allegedly suspended for disagreeing with an instruction not to cover a Right to Know campaign protest against a decision announced by the public broadcaster not to show visuals of violent protests.

The SABC insists this does not amount to self-censorship.

Media Monitoring Africa's William Bird says, "Not only would they have an incredibly strong case against the SABC with the CCMA, but I think that this constitutes a very, very clear and dangerous threat to media freedom in our country."

At the same time, the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) says its shocked by the suspensions.

Sanef's Adriaan Basson says the forum will write to the SABC, urging it to respect the rights of freedom of thought and expression.

"Our information is that economics editor Thandeka Gqubele, RSG executive producer Foeta Krige and senior journalist Suna Venter have been suspended for disagreeing with an instruction, during diary conference, not to cover the R2K protest against censorship at the public broadcaster."

R2K led protests against the broadcaster's management in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg, petitioning the ban on protest coverage and new editorial policies that give chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng the final say on editorial decisions.