22 July 2016 – STATEMENT BY MEDIA EDUCATORS ON SABC CRISIS

The following statement has been issued by educators in journalism and media studies

We, the undersigned educators in journalism, media studies and related subjects, condemn in the strongest terms the arbitrary suspension and firing of some of the leading journalists at the SABC.

The journalists were suspended after making legitimate editorial inquiries about edicts from management that proposed censoring visuals of particular protests.
Any editorial conference or discussion should be a forum where journalists can make their views known and ask questions. In this case the question went to the heart of the mandate of the public broadcaster which is created by, and subject to, statute. One of the objects of the Broadcasting Act, which is among the laws governing the SABC, is to: “ensure plurality of news, views and information and provide a wide range of entertainment and education programmes.” Section 9 (d) of the Act calls on the broadcaster to “ provide significant news and public affairs programming which meets the highest standards of journalism, as well as fair and unbiased coverage, impartiality, balance and independence from government, commercial and other interests”.
The SABC is a public broadcaster belonging to the country. It is the primary source of news for millions of people. It is a place where many of our young graduates should be able to practise their profession and adhere to the highest ethical standards possible.
Unfortunately, this is no longer the case at the broadcaster. The SABC has turned into a place where those who try to maintain a sense of ethics and professionalism are harassed, suspended and dismissed. It has turned into a place where the very basics of the law – complying with the regulatory authority, ICASA – are flouted.
As educators that strive towards instilling values of democratic debate, independent thinking, ethics and accountability in our students, we are shocked by the disregard shown to the independent regulator in an attempt to silence critical questions.
The SABC is a national resource. It does not belong to one person or even a small group of people. This was evident as far back as 1993 when the ANC and civil society groups, which opposed censorship, insisted at the constitutional negotiations in Kempton Park that the legislation governing the broadcaster be the first to change so that a free and fair election in 1994 could be guaranteed.
The SABC is not only flouting the law, but has violated the entire vision of democracy and constitutionalism that brought it into being. This is not the media environment that we want to see our graduates working in.
We call on the SABC to reinstate the fired journalists with immediate effect, and for the Portfolio committee on communications to urgently convene a public hearing into the matter. The SABC is a public resource and must operate in a lawful manner, consistent with the Broadcasting Act and the Constitution. The very principles of democratic debate, public participation and rule of law are at stake.
Signed:
  1. Herman Wasserman, Professor and Director, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town
  2. Martha Evans, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town
  3. Pippa Green, Media manager, Research Project on Employment, Income Distribution and Inclusive Growth, UCT (former head Journalism Programme, University of Pretoria)
  4. Alexia Smit, Lecturer in Television Studies, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town
  5. Litheko Modisane, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of cape Town
  6. Martin Botha, Associate Professor, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town
  7. Tanja Bosch, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town
  8. Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town
  9. Musawenkosi Ndlovu, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town
  10. Wallace Chuma, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town
  11. Lesley Marx, Associate Professor, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town
  12. Ron Irwin, Lecturer, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town
  13. Marion Walton, Associate Professor, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town
  14. Ian Glenn, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town
  15. Adam Haupt, Associate Professor, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town
  16. Philippe-Joseph Salazar, Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric, Centre for Rhetoric Studies, University of Cape Town
  17. Larry Strelitz, Professor and Head of the School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University
  18. Anthea Garman, Associate Professor and Deputy Head of the School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University
  19. Peter du Toit, Research Associate, Project for Conflict Sensitive Reporting, School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University
  20. Jeanne du Toit, Senior Lecturer – Radio. School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University
  21. Alette Schoon, Lecturer, School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University
  22. Rod Amner, Lecturer, School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University
  23. Simon Pamphilon, Lecturer, School of Journalism & Media Studies, Rhodes University
  24. Jenny Gordon, Lecturer, School of Journalism & Media Studies, Rhodes University
  25. Gillian Rennie, Lecturer, School of Journalism & Media Studies, Rhodes University
  26. Glenda Daniels, Senior Lecturer, Department of Media Studies, Wits University
  27. Mehita Iqani, Associate Professor, Media Studies, Wits University
  28. Nicky Falkof, Senior Lecturer, Media Studies, Wits University
  29. Cobus van Staden, Lecturer, Media Studies, Wits University
  30. Iginio Gagliardone, Lecturer, Media Studies, Wits University
  31. Lesley Cowling, Associate Professor, Department of Journalism, Wits University
  32. Elna Schütz, radio producer, Department of Journalism, Wits University
  33. Kenneth Kaplan, Lecturer, Film & TV Division, Wits University
  34. Julie Reid, Senior Lecturer, Department of Communication Science, UNISA
  35. Danie du Plessis, Professor and former Chair of the Department of Communication Science, UNISA
  36. Elirea Bornman, Research Professor, Department of Communication Science, UNISA
  37. Gysbert M. Kirsten, Lecturer: Department of Communication Science, UNISA
  38. Christo P Cilliers, Senior Lecturer, Department of Communication Science, UNISA
  39. viola milton, Associate Professor, Department of Communication Science, UNISA
  40. Babalwa Sibango, Junior Lecturer, Department of Communication Science, UNISA
  41. Marie van Heerden, Lecturer Department of Communication Science, UNISA
  42. Keyan G Tomaselli, Distinguished Professor, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg. Professor Emeritus, University of KwaZulu-Natal.
  43. Elna Rossouw, Lecturer, Department of Journalism, Film and Television, University of Johannesburg.
  44. Pier Paolo Frassinelli, Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies, University of Johannesburg
  45. Ylva Rodny-Gumede, Associate Professor, Department of Journalism, University of Johannesburg
  46. Colin Chasi, Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies, University of Johannesburg
  47. Phyllis Dannhauser, Lecturer, Department of Journalism, Film and Television, University of Johannesburg
  48. Ruth Teer-Tomaselli, Professor, Media and Cultural Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  49. Nicola Jones, Senior Lecturer, Media and Cultural Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  50. Sarah Gibson, Lecturer, Centre for Communication, Media and Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  51. Mike Maxwell, Media and Cultural Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  52. Ayesha Mall, Head of Department of Media, Language and Communications, Durban University of Technology
  53. Anthony Collins, Professor, Department of Media, Language and Communications, Durban University of Technology
  54. Maud Blose, Lecturer, Department of Media, Language and Communications, Durban University of Technology
  55. Robin Sewlal, Senior Lecturer, Department of Media, Language and Communications, Durban University of Technology
  56. Deseni Soobben, Lecturer, Department of Media, Language and Communications, Durban University of Technology
  57. Lizette Rabe, Professor and Chair, Department of Journalism, Stellenbosch University
  58. Gabriël Botma, Senior Lecturer, Department of Journalism, Stellenbosch University
  59. George Claassen, Professor Extraordinary, Department of Journalism, Stellenbosch University
  60. Marenet Jordaan, Lecturer, Department of Journalism, Stellenbosch University
  61. Corli van der Merwe, Rykie van Reenen Fellow, Department of Journalism, Stellenbosch University
  62. Wiida Fourie-Basson, Part-time lecturer and science communication specialist, Department of Journalism, Stellenbosch University
  63. Arrie de Beer, Professor Extraordinary, Department of Journalism, Stellenbosch University
  64. Charles King, Journalism Lecturer, Media Department, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  65. Nic Theo, Senior Lecturer, Media Department, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  66. Colin Charles Adonis, Lecturer, Media Department, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  67. Zubeida Vallie, Photography & Photojournalism Lecturer, Media Department, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  68. Ashraf Jamal, Media Studies, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  69. Asanda Ngoasheng, Journalism Lecturer, Media Department, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  70. Jude Mathurine, Journalism Department, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  71. Lizette Odendaal, Head of Department: Journalism, Tshwane University of Technology
  72. Hilke Steenkamp, Lecturer, Department of Journalism, Tshwane University of Technology
  73. Sholain Govender-Bateman, Lecturer, Department of Journalism, Tshwane University of Technology
  74. Pedro Diederichs, Former Head of Department, and part-time lecturer, Department of Journalism, Tshwane University of Technology
  75. HC (Bok) Marais, S&T Network, Former President South African Communication Association
    Liesbet van Wyk, Cape Town
  76. Sean Jacobs, Associate Professor, The New School, New York
  77. Kiva S.Joseph, Tutorial Assistant, Department of Mass Communication, Uganda Christian University

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