Senior journalists at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on Wednesday threatened to down tools following the resignation of acting CEO Jimi Matthews from the public broadcaster.
Economics editor Thandeka Gqubule, RSG executive producer Foeta Krige and senior journalist Suna Venter were suspended last week after questioning a decision not to cover a protest led by the Right2Know campaign against SABC management in Durban, Cape Town and Joburg, condemning the ban on protest coverage and editorial policies implemented last month.
The three reporters say the situation has reached a stage where their journalistic integrity has been called into question – and public criticism is mounting.
The SABC journalists warn that sudden changes to editorial policies are in direct contravention of both existing editorial legislation and the South African Constitution.
The reporters have expressed grave concern over what they have described as the “victimisation” of their colleagues
Press freedom groups argued that the ban contradicted the legal and regulatory framework that governs the SABC and made a formal complaint to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).
The SABC countered that it had a responsibility not to place its journalists in danger and also a duty to protect children from images of violence.