Pen Mightier Than Sword

Cape Town – Journalists are set to picket outside the SABC’s offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town on Friday in solidarity with the public broadcaster’s staff.

A message of the intended action was widely circulated by journalists and news editors on social media, email and Whatsapp. It was not clear who the organiser was.

It reads: “So here’s the deal: on Friday journos from all over will gather outside SABC Auckland Park dressed in black with placards that read ‘#journalistrights’ from 8am. SABC staffers, with placards that read ‘#notinmyname’, will join them and they’ll proceed to Constitution Hill.”

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/pen-mightier-than-the-sword-as-journalists-plan-pickets-outside-sabc-20160629

Workplace Bullying and Harassment

Has your manager acted in any of the following manners in the workplace?

  • Disapprove of weakness in their employees? Yes / No
  • Raise their voices when they get annoyed? Yes / No
  • Spread malicious gossip? Yes / No
  • Cause employees to dissolve into tears or walk away when confronted by them? Yes / No
  • Use sarcasm ? Yes / No
  • Criticise colleagues in front of clients/customers/other employees? Yes / No

If you have answered YES on any of the questions above, you may have been a victim of bullying and harassment.

WHAT IS HARASSMENT?

Harassment is an incident that has happened to an individual at the workplace that is unwelcome, unwanted and has a destructive effect. Examples of harassment are—

  • bullying;
  • spreading malicious rumours, or insulting someone, particularly on gender, race or disability grounds;
  • ridiculing or degrading someone – picking on them or setting them up to fail;
  • exclusion or victimisation;
  • unfair treatment, for example based on race, gender sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, disability, religion, HIV status, etc;
  • overbearing supervision or other misuses of power or position; (like micro management)
  • unwelcome sexual advances – touching, standing too close and displaying of offensive material;
  • making threats/comments about job security without foundation;
  • deliberately undermining a competent worker by overloading and constant criticism;
  • preventing individuals progressing by intentionally blocking promotion or training opportunities.

HARASSEMENT AT THE WORKPLACE.

Each individual should be treated with dignity and respect at work. Harassment of any kind is in no one’s interest and should not be tolerated at the workplace. Every employee has the right to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace, and employees do not have to tolerate harassment by employers.
The CCMA states that employers have a duty to protect workers from harassment, and employers should develop a code of conduct on harassment in consultation with the employees and employee representatives.

Harassment is in fact classed as an unfair discrimination and only results in a violation of human rights, poor morale among employees, causes unexplained absenteeism, late coming and poor concentration at work.

WHY DO EMPLOYEES NEED TO TAKE ACTION ON HARASSMENT.

Harassment is not only unacceptable on moral grounds but may create problems for an organisation including—

  • violating human rights;
  • poor morale and poor employee relations;
  • it threatens the physical, psychological performance of employees;
  • it often results in unexplained absenteeism, late coming and poor concentration at work;
  • it creates a hostile intimidating and offensive work environment and it can lead to loss of productivity and often to workers resigning.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO WHEN YOU ARE BEING HARASSED.

  • Keep a record of all incidents, taking notes on date and time, potential witness and what was done.
  • Confront the harasser. Firstly you can act informally and speak to the harasser directly, taking a witness with you.
  • You could also make a formal complaint following the normal complaint procedure. Use a grievance or disciplinary procedure as a formal way of dealing with harassment cases.
  • Report the matter to the line manager of the person harassing you.
  • Contact your shop steward or representative.
  • Contact the Human Resources Manager or someone else in a position of authority, like your Supervisor or Senior Manager.

 

Once the case has been reported, management must investigate the case. Usually, there will be a disciplinary inquiry to establish the facts, hear both sides of the story and decide on the appropriate disciplinary measures for the harasser.

The matter can be referred to the CCMA.

RELEVANT LEGISLATION: Employment Equity Act

If you have been a victim, please report it to BEMAWU by sending an email to headoffice@bemawu.org.za (its up and running again).

Free the SABC from Censorship Petition

Please sign this petition http://www.petitions24.com/free_the_sabc_from_censorship_and_political_interference

FREE THE SABC FROM CENSORSHIP AND POLITICAL INTERFERENCE

The SABC is the Public Broadcaster regulated inter alia by the Broadcasting Act and is monitored by ICASA, the regulating body.

Editorial Independence – The SABC is governed by the Charter of the Corporation, which enshrines the journalistic, creative and programming independence of the staff of the corporation, and the constitutionally protected freedom of expression.

In terms of the Charter:

(8) The Corporation must develop a Code of Practice that ensures that the services and the personnel comply with
(a) the constitutional principle of equality;
(b) the equitable treatment of all segments of the South African population;
(c) the constitutional requirement of equitable treatment of all official languages;
(d) the rights of all South Africans to receive and impart information and ideas;
(e) the mandate to provide for a wide range of audience interests, beliefs and perspectives; and
(f) a high standard of accuracy, fairness and impartiality in news and programmes that deal with matters of public interest.

  1. WE INSIST THAT THE SABC COMPLIES WITH ITS OWN CHARTER, THE CONSTITUTION AND THE BROADCASTING ACT.
  2. THE INDEPENDENCE OF JOURNALISTS MUST BE GUARANTEED AND RESPECTED, ALL INTERFERENCE WITH NEWS AND THE REPORTING OF NEWS MUST BE STOPPED, AND ALL SUSPENDED JOURNALISTS MUST BE ALLOWED BACK AT WORK.
  3. THE PUBLIC HAS THE RIGHT TO KNOW. THE BOARD AND EXECUTIVE OF THE SABC MUST BE REPLACED BY INDEPENDENT, NON-POLITICAL, QUALIFIED AND RESPECTED PEOPLE WITH INTEGRITY WHO WILL NOT ALLOW INTERFERENCE IN NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS.
  4. THE SABC MUST LIVE AND PRACTICE ITS VISION, MISSION AND VALUES.
  5. THE BULLYING, INTIMIDATION AND PURGING OF JOURNALISTS AND STAFF WITH OPPOSING VIEWS MUST END AND MANAGEMENT BY FEAR AND LITIGATION MUST STOP. (EMPLOYEES AND IN PARTICULAR JOURNALISTS ARE CONCERNED THAT THEY ARE BEING SPIED ON.)
  6. THE PROMISE OF REWARD OF R100 000 FOR ANYONE PROVIDING INFORMATION IN RESPECT OF STAFF “LEAKING INFORMATION” MUST BE WITHDRAWN WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT AS IT HAS TURNED THE WORKPLACE INTO A “SPY VS SPY” SITUATION WHICH IS NOT CONDUCIVE FOR A HEALTHY WORKPLACE. IF MANAGEMENT HAS NOTHING TO HIDE, THERE IS NOTHING TO “LEAK”. 

Some more information about the SABC:

VISION

The SABC inspires change through enriching, credible, relevant and compelling content that is accessible by all.

MISSION
To educate, inform and entertain all audiences accessing SABC services.

VALUES

Conversations and Partnerships
Restoration of Human Dignity
Building a Common Future

ACCORDING TO THE SABC CHARTER:

(1) The Corporation must comply with the Charter as outlined in this part.
(2) The Authority must monitor and enforce compliance with the Charter by the Corporation.
(3) In terms of this Charter, the Corporation, in pursuit of its objectives and in the exercise of its powers, enjoys freedom of expression and journalistic, creative and programming independence as enshrined in the Constitution.
(4) The Corporation must encourage the development of South African expression by providing, in South African official languages, a wide range of programming that-
(a) reflects South African attitudes, opinions, ideas, values and artistic creativity;
(b) displays South African talent in education and entertainment programmes;
(c) offers a plurality of views and a variety of news, information and analysis from a South African point of view;
(d) advances the national and public interest.
(5) (a) The Board must prepare and submit to the Authority not later than three months after the date of conversion, policies that will ensure compliance with the Authority’s Code of Conduct as prescribed and with the Corporation’s licence conditions and with the objectives contained in this Act, including:
(i) News editorial policy;
(ii) programming policy;
(iii) local content policy;
(iv) educational policy;
(v) universal service and access policy;
(vi) language policy; and
(vii) religious policy.
(b) The Corporation must notify the Authority in writing of any amendments to the policies referred to in paragraph (a) as soon as reasonably possible.
(6) The Board must ensure that there is public participation in the development of the policies referred to in subsection (5) by inviting and considering public comment on such draft policies and by other means.
(7) The Corporation must provide suitable means for regular inputs of public opinion on its services and ensure that such public opinion is given due consideration.
(8) The Corporation must develop a Code of Practice that ensures that the services and the personnel comply with-
(a) the constitutional principle of equality;
(b) the equitable treatment of all segments of the South African population;
(c) the constitutional requirement of equitable treatment of all official languages;
(d) the rights of all South Africans to receive and impart information and ideas;
(e) the mandate to provide for a wide range of audience interests, beliefs and perspectives; and
(f) a high standard of accuracy, fairness and impartiality in news and programmes that deal with matters of public interest.

 

BEMAWU is a specialist trade union organised at the SABC and in the media and electronic communications sector in particular. We have a number of members at the SABC who are journalists.

Fairness and Justice in the Workplace!