THE NAT KAKASA AWARD 2016 CITATION
In an environment described by former SABC Acting Group Chief Executive Jimi Matthews as “corrosive”, it took courage and a commitment to ethical journalism and to freedom of expression to challenge decisions by the top executives at the corporation to censor news coverage.
Three journalists, outspoken in the tradition of Nat Nakasa, led the way: Economics Editor Thandeka Gqubule, RSG executive producer Foeta Krige and senior journalist Suna Venter loudly challenged an instruction during a diary conference not to cover protests outside the broadcaster’s premises in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Those protests were against the regression to apartheid-style censorship at the SABC. The three were immediately suspended for daring to speak up.
Others followed, each expressing in their individual ways their concerns, and it reached such a crescendo that Matthews resigned and apologised to the nation for “remaining silent when my voice needed to be heard”.
The SABC, a national asset, has been on a downward spiral and has become the focus of widespread condemnation. Editorial independence is trampled on and eccentric management orders are thrown around in a frenzy of power.
These eight refuse to be silent:
Thandeka Gqubule - Economics Editor;
Lukhanyo Calata - Parliamentary Correspondent;
Vuyo Mvoko - Specialist Presenter;
Busi Ntuli - Special Assignment Executive Producer;
Jacque Steenkamp - Investigative Journalist;
Krivani Pillay – Executive Producer SAFM Current Affairs
Suna Venter - RSG Senior Journalist; and
Foeta Krige - RSG Executive Producer.
That story is still playing itself out, but the judges for the award this year – xxxx – unanimously agreed to acknowledge the sterling role of these eight with the 2016 Nat Nakasa Award for fearless and courageous journalism.
Statement issued by Mahlatse Gallens, Sanef Chairperson, and Mathatha Tsedu, Sanef Executive Director, 10 July 2016