The SABC’s economics editor, Thandeka Gqubule, who was suspended last week for challenging a decision in an editorial meeting not to show footage of violence at protests, was among journalists who picketed outside the public broadcaster’s offices in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, this morning.

She addressed the crowd in a touching speech, which was met with resounding nods of agreement and ululation.

In her speech, she called on the “ancestors” of journalism such as Ruth First, Peter Magubane and Can Themba to be with them in spirit as they marched to the Constitutional Court to defend freedom of expression.

“It is freedom of expression that gave us this vocation, do not allow the sun to go down on us,” she said.

Gqubule referred to the dawn of democracy in 1994 when she says one of the conditions for the transition into democracy was to have a free, independent and balanced public broadcaster.

“Now we are at that moment again as we approach a highly-contested election where forces of darkness are trying to bend the public asset, the public broadcaster, to their own ends,” she said.

Journalists in Cape Town and Johannesburg have been protesting outside the offices of the SABC since 8 am. They’re opposing the broadcaster’s censorship of news after Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng said he doesn’t want the SABC to publish violent images from protests, and no more negative news on President Jacob Zuma.
Listen to the full audio of her address below.