The three South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) editorial staff members who were suspended last week will soon rope SABC Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng to court.
The trio – Economics Editor Thandeka Gqubule, Executive Editor at Radio Sonder Grense Foeta Krige, and Senior Journalist Suna Venter disclosed that they took the move because the current state of SABC’s affairs is undemocratic and divests journalists of their right to practice what they were trained to do.
The three staff members were asked to indefinitely step aside after they kicked against Motsoeneng’s instruction not to report on an anti-censorship protest outside the SABC’s offices last week.
The trio’s representative, Sheniece Linderboom, head of the law clinic at the Freedom of Expression Institute, disclosed that a plan of action is currently underway for them.
Linderboom added that they would explore all avenues, including representing the trio internally and in court at the end of discussions.
On June 24, the SABC served suspension letters to the above three employees for voicing their anger against SABC’s decision not to air Right2Know (R2K) campaign’s protest against censorship at the public broadcaster on June 20.
After the shocking suspension, the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) condemned the suspension of the three SABC employees. The organization also called on SABC to lift the suspensions.
On Sunday, the South African Communist Party (SACP) challenged SABC’s drastic action and urged the public broadcaster to immediately reinstate the three editorial staff.
R2K Attacks SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng
During the peace protest held on June 20, R2K demanded the removal of SABC Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng as well as termination of its self-censorship and withdrawal of its revised editorial policy which‚ according to R2K’s Reddy‚ gives Motsoeneng‚ the sole authority to detect which news comes on air and not.
SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng has been under fire following his decision not to show footage of violent protests. The criticism got swelled up last week after footage of Tshwane violent was not aired on the SABC.
A bid to hear from the three suspended editorial staff members failed as the terms of their suspension prevented them from talking to the media.