Concern over SABC crisis
JOHANNESBURG – The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum have expressed their concern at the ongoing crisis at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) which has seen the suspension of journalists and resignation of workers after public broadcaster’s recent decision to ban coverage of violent protests ahead of next month local government elections .
In a letter of protest to Hlaudi Motsoeneng, regarding the growing tendency towards censorship and the erosion of editorial independence at the public broadcaster the world press body said :
“We register our grave concern over reports of a growing tendency towards censorship and the erosion of editorial independence at “We have been particularly outraged by the decision to suspend three senior journalists who had raised concerns over the shift in editorial policy ahead of the August 2016 local government elections, which they felt violated the editorial charter of the public broadcaster.
The letter was in solidarity with journalists who staged a protest on Friday in Johannesburg following reports that three additional journalists from the broadcaster are reportedly facing disciplinary action for speaking their minds regarding the erosion of editorial independence at SABC.
“Recent reports indicate that you have been making deliberate efforts to muzzle the public broadcaster by, for instance, banning the coverage of any “public violence” and “destruction of property during protest”, even when such is clearly in the public interest. Furthermore, we learn that the SABC has suspended the coverage of newspaper headlines as part of screening ‘unwanted’ images of public violence. continues the letter
“We are deeply concerned that the recent decisions taken by management at the SABC pose a serious threat to media freedom, the rights of journalists to report without fear or favour on matters of public interest, and present a worrying trend of editorial interference by senior management at the public broadcaster,” says the statement from the global journalists’ forum.
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