Veteran journalist Zubeida Jaffer says the situation at the SABC must be very serious for the Acting CEO, Jimi Matthews, to have resigned in the unexpected manner that he did.
In his resignation letter, Matthews says for many months he had compromised the values that he holds dearly under a mistaken belief that he would be more effective inside the SABC other than on the side-lines.
Jaffer says he’s a great professional and she holds him in the highest regard.
She says it seems as if those who make decisions, are disregarding the point of view of a working journalist.
“It’s very unfortunate that all the efforts that we’ve made over many years and many people is now being allowed to deteriorate to this stage and I call on all journalists to take a stand. Whoever comes in will have to be clear whether they’ll be given the right to act in a professional manner and not suffer what Jimi has been put through.”
She also added that whoever takes his position must at least try to insist that the post-94 journalistic standards that have become a societal norm need to be reaffirmed.
The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has also come out to commend Matthews for speaking out against his former employers.
Sanef says the SABC’s actions to ban violent protests, suspend three editors and to tell staff not to use stories that speak ill of President Jacob Zuma, show that the state broadcaster is not acting in the interest of the public.
Sanef Executive Director, Mathatha Tsedu, says the corporate governance within the public broadcaster has gone haywire.
“The apartheid regime used the SABC as a propaganda tool but failed to dupe the South African public, even though they were doing the same thing that the present authorities at the SABC are trying to do. We calling on the SABC leadership to allow the journalists to do their work professionally,” he added.
Moeketsi Mogotsi/Courant News