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Pressure mounts on SABC to drop censorship

Demonstrations were today held outside SABC offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Right2Know campaigners join journalists at a protest against SABC censorship policies in front of the broadcaster's building in Sea Point, Cape Town, on 1 July 2016. Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The South African Broadcasting Corporation(SABC) management has come up against opposition from the media industry and civil society for cracking down on journalists who speak up about censorship at the broadcaster.

Demonstrations were today held outside SABC offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

WATCH: #NotInOurName: Journalists protest against SABC censorship

Three senior journalists, who have raised concerns about a climate of fear in their newsrooms, have been charged internally, while three others have been suspended for going against a decision not to cover a protest.

Journalists, editors and free speech advocates demonstrated outside SABC's Sea Point offices.

SABC journalist Lukhanyo Calata was among them.

"Instead of the SABC really trying to address the problem, they are making it worse by suspending people."

Calata says staff at the public broadcaster should not be suspended for speaking out about censorship.

He says journalists should be free to raise issues in the newsroom.

"The contracts that we have with the SABC are for us to question things; to question presidents, ministers, the government, the CEOs of companies and all kinds of things; but as soon as we [start] questioning what happens within our own institution, then we get suspended. How does that work?"

Right2know campaigner, Khaya Xintolo says the public broadcaster must be free of political interference.

"It's controlled by the ruling party; they don't want journalists to capture exactly what is the reality happening."

Under Chief Operations Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng's watch, the SABC is not allowed to show the destruction of public property during protests.

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