South Africa Court Rules Dismissal of SABC Journalists Unlawful

  • Court orders immediate reinstatement of four SABC journalists
  • SABC agreed to withdraw ban on footage of violent protests

The South African Broadcasting Corporation’s dismissal of four journalists after they criticized the state-owned broadcaster’s decision to ban footage of violent protests was unlawful, a judge ruled.

“The defendants’ dismissals were unlawful and void,” Judge Andre van Niekerk said in a ruling at the Labour Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The journalists must be reinstated to their positions immediately and no disciplinary action should be taken against them, he said.

The SABC management must within five days submit reasons why it shouldn’t be held liable for costs, he said.

The four were part of a group of journalists who were dismissed after they criticized the SABC’s policy to not broadcast footage of violent protests. The corporation on July 20 reversed its decision after it was challenged in court by the Helen Suzman Foundation. The non-governmental organization is also seeking a ruling that the SABC ban, announced in May, be set aside and declared unconstitutional.

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