Donations pour in for SABC 8

2016-07-19 15:46 - Gareth van Zyl, Fin24
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Crowdfunding is being tapped to raise money for eight dismissed SABC journalists. (Fin24)

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Johannesburg - Over R50 000 has so far been donated via crowdfunding website Generosity for SABC journalists who were fired for refusing to be censored at the broadcaster.

Just over $3 500 was raised within just five hours on Tuesday after News24 editor Adriaan Basson launched a web page on Generosity dubbed ‘Friends of SABC journalists’.

Basson set an initial target of $6 000 (R86 000) for the dismissed journalists, but plans to up this amount after it emerged on Tuesday that four more journalists have been sacked.

The SABC axed Foeta Krige, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp on Monday while Thandeka Gqubule, Busisiwe Ntuli and Lukhanyo Calata were fired on Tuesday.

The eighth person dismissed was freelance journalist Vuyo Mvoko.

The public broadcaster sacked the eight for speaking out against censorship of protest footage at the SABC, News24 reported on Tuesday.

“I think the media industry has really been great at rallying behind our colleagues at the SABC who have effectively been fired for refusing to be censored,” Basson told Fin24.

“We took up placards to protest outside the SABC’s offices, we’ve been vocal on social media and last Saturday the South African National Editors’ Forum awarded its highest prize – the Nat Nakasa award for fearless journalism – to what has now become known as the #SABC8.

“But it’s been clear that despite our vocal opposition to what’s been happening at the SABC, the corporation’s bosses were foolhardy forging ahead with their disciplinary action against the eight,” Basson told Fin24.

Basson subsequently said he wanted to do more to stand behind the axed SABC journalists, and after talking to colleagues and friends he decided to launch a crowdsourced fundraiser.

“These guys are standing up for what is right and rightfully being awarded for it, but that will not pay their children’s school fees or bond at the end of July, when they will only receive a part of their salaries,” Basson told Fin24.

“I’ve been blown away by the response – in less than three hours we’ve already received more than R35 000 in donations.

Media law attorney Willem de Klerk has offered to administer the distribution of the donations pro bono, said Basson.

“All money raised will be distributed equally between the #SABC8,” Basson added.

In the meantime, the journalists have reportedly approached the Constitutional Court for direct access to reverse the SABC’s decision on its policy to block violent protest footage.

Several of the journalists plan to challenge their dismissal at the Labour Court, News24 reported on Tuesday.