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eNCA reporter hits out at employer over head scarf debacle

By Faeza
01 June 2016

An eNCA reporter has hit out at her employer after alleging that her video clip was never aired because she was wearing an African-inspired head dress.

Nontobeko Sibisi said, in a e-mail to her colleagues that was circulated on Twitter on Tuesday night, that it was one of the most shocking and gravely disappointing actions she had ever experienced at eNCA.

"Last week, I put together a story on an African cross-border music collaboration of four musicians from Nigeria, Zimbabwe and South Africa. A perfect Africa story of African collaboration during African month, shot during Africa Day," it read.

"Now, because for nine seconds of an about three-minute piece, I appear wearing a doek – the story was taken off air without my knowledge," Sibisi said in the e-mail.

Sibisi said she was told by a sub-editor that her story had been removed.

The revelation sparked an outcry on Twitter.

"Some of us have been half naked on TV, in PJs, gowns, ballet tutu’s, speedos, boxing gear all fitting to a particular context – yet somehow a doek was offensive enough during a very significant and celebratory day and month in our continent," wrote Sibisi.

She said there was unfairness, unprofessionalism, inconsistent application of "rules" [in terms of on-air dress code], an intentional lack of communication and unjustifiable recourse.

Sibisi tweeted: "I've listened + read many of your comments on #Doek including our Editor in Chief A.Harber - some discussions + changes are brewing."

I've listened + read many of your comments on #Doek including our Editor in Chief A.Harber - some discussions + changes are brewing. Ta ?

— Nontobeko Sibisi (@Nontobek0Sibisi) May 31, 2016

In response, eNCA Editor-in-Chief Anton Harber has told News24 there were no issues with Sibisi wearing a doek and that the segment had been aired.

"It ran repeatedly and there was absolutely no issue with the reporter wearing headgear on Africa Day," Harber said.

He added that there was a policy in place that governed the appearance of reporters.

"We have a conventional TV policy on how reporters and anchors should look on air and that encompasses all manner of headgear from Alicebands to scarfs."

However, in the spirit of diversity, Harber said he had started a discussion about possibly reviewing the policy to ensure that it was in line with the company's values.

Quizzed on why the segment was eventually pulled off air, Harber said he had sought clarity from the staff member who had done so.

"That staff member is away currently but I have sought clarity. As with any story, segments run and are pulled everyday," he said.

Source: News24