The South African community is coming together to help the SABC 8 with over R300 000 hang been raised on a crowdfunding site in less than 24 hours.
Adriaan Basson, a News24 editor started a page on Generosity.com called ‘Friends of SABC journalists’
An initial target of $6 000 (R86 000) for the dismissed journalists was set, and has already been surpassed by over 300%.
Basson made the call on Tuesday‚ a day after it emerged that “Foeta Krige‚ Suna Venter‚ Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp are jobless after being fired by the SABC”.
Since then Thandeka Gqubule, Busisiwe Ntuli and Lukhanyo Calata and freelance journalist Vuyo Mvoko were all fired. They have been dubbed the “SABC 8”.
The public broadcaster sacked the eight for speaking out against censorship of protest footage at the SABC.
“It’s been incredibly humbling to see so many people putting their money where their mouths are for our colleagues …,” Basson wrote in an update on the site.
“In less than 12 hours we have raised more than R240 000 for these 8 brave journalists and friends.
“Soon after the fundraiser was launched, Thandeka, Lukhanyo and Busisiwe were also informed of their sackings by the SABC.
“A long road through the Labour Court, the High Court and the Constitutional Court lies ahead for these eight. Let’s keep on donating to give them some financial comfort for the difficult days ahead. Please circulate to your networks and make a contribution, however small.”
Speaking to Fin24 on Tuesday, Basson said media industry has really been great at rallying behind its colleagues at the SABC who have effectively been fired for refusing to be censored.
“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.