Three SABC journalists have been suspended for failing to stick to the “violent protest” ban that has been implemented at the broadcaster, according the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef).
According to Sanef, economics editor, Thandeka Gqubule, RSG executive producer Foeta Krige and senior journalist Suna Venter have been suspended for “disagreeing with an instruction during a diary conference not to cover the Right2Know (R2K) campaign’s protest against censorship at the public broadcaster”.
On Monday R2K led protests against SABC management in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg, petitioning the ban on protest coverage and new editorial policies that give the COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng the final say on editorial decisions.
In May, the SABC said it will no longer show violent protests on any of its channels in a bid to “educate the population”, and send a message that violent action will not get them the attention they seek.
The broadcaster made good on these promises by refusing to air any footage of protests that broke out in the weeks following the announcement, and hardly made mention of the massive protest action which played out in Tshwane, in which 5 people lost their lives.
The SABC doubled down on its censorship action by also refusing to air any coverage of other media reporting on violent protests – which included the cancellation of current affairs radio shows, and stopping presenters from reading newspaper headlines on air.
The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) will on Friday hold a public hearing about the SABC’s decision not to broadcast footage of violent protests.
The public broadcaster had until Wednesday to explain its decision to censor its news to Icasa.
Opposition parties and media groups have criticised SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s decision.