[UPDATE: A letter written to the SABC by three other journalists has been released. SAfm executive producer, Krivani Pillay, Special Assignment executive producer, Busisiwe Ntuli and investigative reporter, Jaques Steenkamp, say the “SABC newsroom has become a source of derision, despair and criticism…” See the letter at the bottom of the story]
Three senior SABC journalists who were abruptly suspended last week are said to be taking the public broadcaster and its COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, to court.
Economics editor Thandeka Gqubule, RSG executive producer Foeta Krige and senior journalist Suna Venter were suspended on Friday after allegedly disagreeing with the decision not to cover the Right2Know Campaign protest at the SABC offices last week.
The three are reportedly not taking the decision lying down and are taking the fight to the Constitutional Court, the highest in South Africa.
According to sources who spoke to The Star yesterday, the journalists’ sentiments are that what is happening at the SABC is “…deeply undemocratic and deprives journalists of their right to practice what they were trained to do”.
“They believe the decision of the SABC goes against a constitutionally-guaranteed public right to be informed and that it erodes journalists’ rights to be employed elsewhere if they leave the public broadcaster,” another source added.
By taking the matter to the ConCourt, the journalists are said to be hoping that the industry will assist them to redeem themselves, and march with them to the court. They said it’s “critical” that the matter is heard before the municipal elections take place.
htxt.africa briefly spoke to one of the journalists, Suna Venter, on Friday at the Icasa tribunal hearing over the SABC’s banning of violent protest coverage.
At this time, Venter and her colleagues cannot officially comment on the matter, but she did say that her presence at the hearing was her way of making her feelings known.