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Sanef statement on the dismissal of journalists by ANN7

SANEF notes with concern the dismissal of eight staff members by the television station ANN7 on Friday for exercising their duty of independence as enshrined in the South African press code.  A further 12 staff received final written warnings while 11 received warnings.  The staff members all objected to being named as parties to a company letter to four banks that had revoked banking services to the television station’s owners Oakbay Holdings and they protested being made to attend a meeting at the company by ANC Youth League president Collen Maine. Staff reportedly said they felt it inappropriate to be caught up in the company’s corporate and political battles.
Disciplinary measures arose after they refused to attend the meeting to be addressed by Maine.  SANEF will request a meeting with ANN7 editor-in-chief Moegsien Williams.  Labour matters are firmly in the purview of individual employees but this case revolves around freedom of association and independent journalism.  The staff were in different instances charged with intimidation and insubordination. One staff member faced a charge for calling into a radio station to protest the Maine meeting on air.  Sanef believes the staff members all have a right to appeal.
SANEF notes this has been a tough week for journalists.  The SABC suspended three senior journalists who objected to a decision not to cover a protest against censorship while there were seven incidents of violence and intimidation against journalists recorded in this week’s Tshwane protests; two of which related to police officers being in contravention of standing orders on the rights of the media.
For Inquiries
Sanef Chairperson Mpumelelo Mkhabela 0822962541
Sanef Media Freedom Sub Committee Chairperson Adriaan Basson 082 562 2113