Johannesburg - An SABC labour union says its members have been instructed not to report on expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.
"It has been reported to us by several of our members
that they have been instructed to not report on any activities of the
expelled ANC Youth League leader, Mr Julius Malema," the Broadcasting,
Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) said on Thursday.
"The instruction went as far as to say that even if he
is assassinated, or he dies in any other manner, it should not be
reported until top management has instructed otherwise."
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the allegations were not true.
"It is untrue that the SABC news department has issued
any instructions banning Julius Malema. What news management has
appealed for, is for more responsible and in depth reporting on the
issues," Kganyago said.
SABC acting head of news Jimi Matthews said in a statement he had asked the news team to provide more context in their stories.
"I am very disappointed with the turn of events.
Instead of debate, certain members of my staff ran off to other media
houses claiming that I had banned Malema from the airwaves," he said.
"Nothing can be further from the truth. I asked for responsible journalism and intellectual engagement."
Bemawu said news staff at the SABC had been warned not to report on Malema's whereabouts or what he was doing.
News editors at the organisation were informed of the instruction earlier in the day, it said.
"Bemawu regards this as a gross violation of the
principles of journalism and also an attack on freedom of the press,"
the union said in a statement.
"As a public broadcaster the SABC is duty bound to
report news in a fair, unbiased and accurate manner, and without
influence from top or any other management of the SABC."
Bemawu had informed its members not to comply with the
unlawful instruction and to report the news of the day without fear or
"If management dare to touch any of our members
ignoring this unlawful instruction, Bemawu will defend our members and
take the matter to the highest court."
The union called for an urgent investigation and
demanded the strongest action be taken against the managers responsible
for the instruction.
* Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.