Suspended SABC journalists stick to their guns about censorship claims

The journalists say that Motsoneng has already said he’s prepared to take this issue to the highest court.

Righ2Know campaigners has taken its protest against censorship at SABC to Luthuli House. Picture: Masa Kekana/ EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The eight journalists, who have taken the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to the Constitutional Court, have told judges in legal papers that the SABC is simply censoring the news.

They also says it's clear the SABC and its chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, are planning to resist Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa)'s ruling on violent protests and that it will literally take years for the matter to be resolved, if the judges don't hear their case.

The journalists were told they would be disciplined after they questioned the SABC's decision to ban the broadcast of images of violent protests.

In their legal papers the eight reporters say the SABC is literally in crisis that will directly affect the 21 million people who depend on the SABC as their primary source of news and that it can only be resolved by the Constitutional Court.

They also say that Motsoneng has already said he's prepared to take this issue to the highest court in the land and thus it's difficult to see what principled opposition he could have to this direct application.

The journalists explain how the SABC has also appeared to break it its own policy by showing images of protests in Zimbabwe and ask if the ban means that the corporation will no longer show protests that took place during apartheid.

They also say that during the Tshwane protests, the public should have been furnished with visuals of the protests and violent actions of their countrymen but that SABC television news focused instead on a story about chocolate.