SABC’s acting group CEO Jimi Matthews has resigned from the public broadcaster following widespread changes under COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
Mr Jimi Matthews, who posted a picture of his resignation letter on Twitter on Monday morning, stated his decision to leave following certain decisions made at the broadcaster that he claims not to be comfortable with.
In the letter addressed to Prof Mbulaheni Maguvhe, chairman of the SABC Board, Matthews said that the “corrosive atmosphere” at the broadcaster is wrong and has negatively affected his moral judgment which he would no longer be part of.
“For many months I have compromised the values I hold dear under the mistaken belief that I could be more effective inside the SABC than outside‚ passing comment from the side-lines.
“In the process the prevailing‚ corrosive atmosphere has impacted negatively on my moral judgment and has made me complicit in many decisions which I am not proud of.
“What is happening at the SABC is wrong and I can no longer be part of it,” the letter read.
Jimi Matthews further apologized to many people who think he has let them down by remaining silent when his voice should be heard.
Matthews’ resignation comes just days after three top SABC journalists – economics editor Thandeka Gqubule‚ RSG executive producer Foeta Krige and senior journalist Suna Venter — were placed on suspension for objecting to a decision to not cover a protest on censorship last week.
SABC has under the leadership of COO Hlaudi Motsoenening, taken a firm stance against any news items that paint the government in a negative light.
The most notable here is the broadcaster’s decision to censor any footage of violent protests, as well as any other media coverage bringing attention to civil unrest across the country.
Matthews on his own part, was most recently in the news when he compiled an answering affidavit on behalf of the broadcasting corporation in its defense against a complaint lodged at the Independent Communications Authority of SA over the its decision to not show footage from violent protests.
The complainants — the Media Monitoring Africa (MMA)‚ supported by the SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition and the Freedom of Expression Institute – said the broadcasters’ decision constituted outright censorship by the broadcaster‚ mostly in the run-up to the August local government elections.