The Right2Know Campaign has learned that three SABC employees have been suspended for allegedly disagreeing with an instruction not to cover on our peaceful protest against SABC management that took place on Monday. This latest move by management is outrageous! It reaffirms the reason that we protested in the first place – censorship and rampant abuse of power under Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s watch.
If there were any doubts that the SABC’s recent restrictions on protest coverage were an attempt to censor people’s struggles and shield the powerful from criticism from below, then this latest transgression by management finally dispels any lingering myths. The protest ban is unequivocally censorship, and the SABC is going beyond it’s foolish decision not to cover violence at protests by apparently hounding journalists who cover peaceful protests too.
We call for COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s sacking for violating the constitution and the Broadcasting Act. For far too long Hlaudi has recklessly imposed his will and undermined the public broadcaster with absolute impunity. The fact that the COO has usurped the roles of editor-in-chief goes against basic principles of media freedom and independence – that there should be a barrier between management and editorial and that the work of editors should be insulated from political and commercial interests.
This latest purge, at a time of growing concern about the state of the broadcaster and an ICASA hearing into SABC censorship, makes it clear that Hlaudi has only contempt for those who work under him, for ethos and ethics of public broadcasting, and for the public to whom he ought to account. We demand the removal of Hlaudi before he can do further damage to the SABC!
We also demand that the power to veto the appointments of the CEO, COO and CFO be taken out of the Communication Minister’s hands and, further, we insist that the minister should not be at liberty to interfere with the SABC Board’s decision-making processes. We cannot allow this crucial institution to be captured by a faction of the political elite!
Lastly, we salute journalists and media workers at the SABC who have the courage and integrity to speak truth to power! R2K mid-term summit delegation who are currently meeting in Cape Town will be picketing outside SABC offices in Sea Point from 4PM today. Amandla!