Samkele Maseko, former eNCA political reporter, took to Twitter on Wednesday to expose the broadcaster’s head of news, Kanthan Pillay, for alleged censorship.
On Tuesday 17 December, Maseko announced on Twitter that he resigned from eNCA for “greener pastures” and apologised to his colleagues for leaving without saying goodbye. He claimed that, on the news channel’s request, he could not serve notice. The next day, Kanthan Pillay, in a tweet that has since been deleted and believed to have been directed at Maseko, stated that “rats (are) swimming toward a sinking ship”.
In response to this, Maseko went on a Twitter rant, exposing Pillay for mistreating him and for allegedly wanting to “settle political scores” and using eNCA to do so. His tweets reveal that Pillay had kicked him out of the eNCA building after he handed in his resignation. One of his tweets states that Pillay had been “Busy sensoring [sic] political talk and instructing things to (be) taken of air.”
The tweets got the attention of many Twitter users as well as the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF). SANEF released a statement saying, “The censoring of journalists, who report in ethical and responsible ways is anathema in our industry and should always be strongly condemned”. They said that the allegations of censorship go against SANEF principles and for this reason, they will request a meeting with eNCA management to seek clarity on the situation. They urge eNCA to get to the bottom of the allegations while “Maseko has agreed to approach Judge Kathleen Satchwell and the Media Ethics and Credibility Inquiry to discuss these issues further.”
Kanthan Pillay has since deleted his Twitter account and no further communication between him and Maseko has been reported.