EFF, eNCA and South Africa’s Press freedom furore

Reports have it that Khayelihle Khumalo, a journalist with eNCA was suspended for tweeting about the EFF conference
South Africa’s Press freedom furore

Since eNews Channel Africa (eNCA) pulled out of covering the EFF conference held last week in South Africa, Pandora’s box has opened.

A fallout between former eNCA journalist Samkele Maseko and the station’s controversial Head of News Kanthan Pillay has raised tempers across South Africa.

Following the damning allegations and fiery exchanges that surfaced between Maseko and Pillay, the Economic Freedom Fighters have issued a statement condemning the channel’s leadership and called for a boycott of the news channel.

Drama kicked off when eNCA unexpectedly pulled out of EFF’s second elective conference coverage over the weekend and instructed outside broadcast staff to return to the office.

Reports have it that Khayelihle Khumalo, a journalist with eNCA was also suspended for tweeting about the EFF conference from his personal account after the clampdown on coverage by eNCA.

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Maseko, who was the day’s correspondent for eNCA, stayed back at that conference.

He resigned from his position at the news channel hours after whilst also tweeted an apology to colleagues for not taking the time to bid them farewell in person.

In a suspected response to that, Pillay tweeted “rats swimming towards a sinking ship #EarlyXmasGift,” which prompted Maseko to reveal the alleged circumstances under which he left eNCA.  Pillay’s tweet has since been deleted.

The EFF responded in support of Maseko and Khayelihle Khumalo saying that eNCA’s withdrawal from the conference must be seen as an attempt to silence the EFF. 

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Last month, eNCA was evasive about the appointment of Pillay, who, only six months earlier, was the leader of the Capitalist Party of South Africa (known as the Purple Cow party).

That party failed to secure a single seat in the 2019 general elections.

Meanwhile, the ANC’s national youth task team -NYTT- also issued a statement condemning the alleged censorship.

The South African National Editors’ Forum SANEF on its part has called on all Editors, media owners and newsroom executives to guard against all instances of editorial interference in newsrooms and to allow journalists continue their work in a responsible and ethical manner.

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Smarting from reactions generated from South African netizens, Pillay and fellow ZACP member Roman Cabanac have deleted their Twitter accounts.

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