Tragic passing of Suna Venter, courageous whistle blower

Posted: 29 June 2017 | News - Media Release | Categories:

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic passing of Suna Venter. Suna was one of the first SABC employees to blow the whistle about editorial interference at the SABC.  As one of the SABC8 Suna was also incredibly brave and principled.  

Suna will be remembered for having displayed such great courage despite clear and deliberate intimidation and direct attacks on her professionally and personally.

The circumstances surrounding her passing are still emerging, and emotions are running high, but what is clear is that the SABC has a lot to answer for.  At the time she received threats on her life SABC was dismissive and callous in its response, their statement at the time noting: “our message is very clear that this is a matter of the police, if anybody receives death threats, they must just report the matter to the police and the police will know what to do, and this has got nothing to do with the SABC”.  To the best of our knowledge no member of the SABC8 has received a formal apology for the offensive response and behaviour of the then SABC Board and senior management.  Critically we are also not aware of anyone being held accountable for any of the threats issued to the SABC8.

We know that despite fine work being carried out by the SABC interim board, the SABC8 continue to experience pressure and interference. Suna’s tragic passing must not be in vain and the best way of honouring her contribution will be for the SABC to live up to its potential and deliver the highest standard of ethical and professional journalism. We stand in solidarity with the SABC8 and all those within and outside the SABC who continue to fight for the independence and freedom of our journalists at the SABC.  

For more:
Thandi Smith
+2773 470 7306
William Bird
+2782 887 1370