BREAKING: SABC interdicted from enforcing censorship decision

2016-07-20 12:18

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Pretoria - The High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday granted an order interdicting the SABC from implementing or enforcing its censorship decision.

The Helen Suzman Foundation and the SABC reached a settlement earlier on Wednesday. The SABC conceded to most of the points in the HSF’s application for the urgent interdict, except one point in the notice of motion.

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After they had discussed the point in question and reworked it, a draft order was made, and effected by Judge John Murphy.

Crucially, the discussions and subsequent order included a paragraph on the editorial independence of the SABC. 

The interdict was Part A of the application, pending the Constitutional Court’s hearing the matter on the lawfulness of the SABC's decision.

The SABC this week sacked eight journalists for disagreeing with a decision to censor coverage of protests, before the disciplinary cases against some of them had been concluded. Trade unions Solidarity and Bemawu intend taking their cases to court.

Seven SABC reporters were fired this week. The eighth person was freelance journalist Vuyo Mvoko, whose contract was terminated.

It emerged on Tuesday that the broadcaster had fired Busisiwe Ntuli, a specialist producer for investigative programme Special Assignment, and Lukhanyo Calata, an SABC journalist in Cape Town. Economics editor Thandeka Gqubule confirmed later that she had also been sacked.

Four others - Foeta Krige, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp - were informed of their axing on Monday.

Afrikaans news presenter Ivor Price announced his resignation from the broadcaster on Tuesday in a statement saying "I can't remain silent anymore".

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) ruled on July 11 that the SABC had to withdraw its resolution to ban the broadcasting of violent protests.

SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng said after the ruling that no one could tell the SABC what to do and that they would challenge Icasa’s decision in court.

Read more on:    helen suzman foundation  |  sabc  |  media

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