Three senior SABC employees have been suspended for allegedly opposing the decision not to cover protests held by a media lobby group earlier this week.

According to a report by the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef), Economics Editor Thandeka Gqubule, RSG executive producer Foeta Krige and senior journalist Suna Venter have been suspended.

The three allegedly disagreed with an instruction from the public broadcaster during a diary conference not to cover Right2Know’s (R2K) protest against censorship at the SABC. The protests were held at three SABC offices across the country, calling for the removal of COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng and an end to “censorship”.

“Sanef urges the SABC to immediately lift the suspensions of these journalists. Journalists in a constitutional democracy have a right to express themselves freely,” the forum said.

SABC spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago confirmed the suspensions to News24, but declined to comment on the reasons behind them.

“It is an employer-employee issue and we are handling it as such. We do not want to engage in the public space, it is not fair to them and it is not fair to us,” Kganyago told the site.

Sanef said it will write to the public broadcaster to insist that it must respect the rights to freedom of thought and expression of journalists.

[UPDATE]

htxt.africa spoke to senior SABC journalist, Suna Venter, at the SABC hearing in front of Icasa this afternoon. Venter is one of the three employees who have been suspended.

Venter said that although she is contractually bound not to talk about the suspension, she doesn’t know how the story got leaked to newspapers.

[Source – Sanef]