Journalists have a right to appeal – SA editors forum on ANN7 dismissals

ANN7’s dismissal of eight staff members who allegedly refused to attend a company meeting where ANC Youth League President Collen Maine was speaking has been heavily criticised. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

ANN7’s dismissal of eight staff members who allegedly refused to attend a company meeting where ANC Youth League President Collen Maine was speaking has been heavily criticised. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

The SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) on Monday criticised ANN7’s dismissal of eight staff members who allegedly refused to attend a company meeting where ANCYL leader Collen Maine was due to speak.

According to an anonymous email News24 received last week, eight ANN7 staffers were fired on Friday and escorted off the premises immediately.

The journalists were found guilty of “bringing the company into disrepute” for voicing their anger at Maine’s visit to the premises on April 20. The visit was at the invitation of online manager Puti Mosomane, according to the email’s author.

Sanef said it was concerned by the disciplinary measures taken against ANN7 journalists, saying they had a right to appeal.

“Sanef notes with concern the dismissal of eight staff members by ANN7 on Friday for exercising their duty of independence as enshrined in the South African press code,” it said in a statement.

“A further 12 staff received final written warnings, while 11 received warnings.

“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.”

Corporate, political battles ‘inappropriate’
The staff members had objected to being named as parties in a company letter to four banks that had revoked banking services to the television station’s owners, Oakbay Holdings.

According to Sanef, staff reportedly felt it was “inappropriate” to be caught up in the company’s corporate and political battles.

Sanef said it had 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.”

Sanef would ask for a meeting with ANN7 editor-in-chief Moegsien Williams to discuss the matter. - News24

 

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