The SA National Editors Forum commends Acting Group CEO of the SABC Jimmi Matthews on his stance to resign from the public broadcaster. In his resignation letter, in which he speaks of the “corrosive atmosphere” inside the corporation, Matthews also says the following: “For many months I have compromised values that I hold dear under the mistaken belief that I could be more effective inside the SABC than outside…. What is happening at the SABC is wrong and I can no longer be a part of it”.
Matthews was at least on paper the most senior official of the corporation. That he feels there is a corrosive atmosphere that he as the CEO cannot do anything about speaks volumes about corporate governance within the SABC. The SABC is an asset of the South African public as a whole and that it is being turned into a state broadcaster that only serves the interests of the ruling party is wrong and must be condemned.
In just the past month alone, visuals of violent incidents were banned, staff were told not to use stories that speak ill of President Jacob Zuma, and three staff members who expressed a dissenting opinion on these issues were suspended.
The apartheid regime—through omissions and commission—used the SABC as a propaganda tool but was not able to dupe the South African public. It is the public that is short changed by this misuse of state resources and it is in the end the public that must ensure it fulfills its constitutional role as a public broadcaster. We call on the leadership of the SABC to urgently reverse its decision to censor the news and allow its journalists to work in a free environment that does not compromise their ethics)
Sanef Chairperson Mpumelelo Mkhabela 0822962541
Sanef Media Freedom Sub Committee Chairperson Adriaan Basson 082 562 2113
Sanef Executive Director Mathatha Tsedu 0824540527