There has been an outcry on social media after a broadcast journalist alleged that a story was canned because she was filmed wearing a headscarf.
Nontobeko Sibisi, who is an arts and entertainment reporter for eNCA, directed damning accusations towards its management after she wore a headscarf, or doek, in the video on Africa Day.
In a candid email sent to her colleagues, Sibisi expressed her disappointment at the “unjustifiable injustice” and the manner in which her story was taken off-air.
She referred to the video as: “A story on an African cross-border music collaboration of four musicians from Nigeria, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Their music is a rare sound merging traditional instruments and modern-day electric sounds.”
Sibisi, who was not speaking to the media, called the segment “the perfect African story of African collaborations during Africa Month shot during Africa Day”.
“Now because for nine seconds of an about three-minute piece I appear wearing a doek, the story was taken off air without my knowledge. I was not spoken too, disciplined, reprimanded or emailed regarding this grave action. I was informed of this decision by a subeditor in passing.”
In the leaked email, various colleagues responded to Sibisi stating their support for her and the need to address the severity of such an act.
In an interview with News24, Anton Harber, editor-in-chief for eNCA said that there were no issues with Sibisi wearing a doek and that the segment had been aired.
“It ran repeatedly and there was absolutely no issue with the reporter wearing headgear on Africa Day,” Harber said.
According to Harber, the member of staff who had pulled the story was out of the country and he was unable to seek clarity on the reasoning behind the decision to pull Sibisi’s story from air.
There has been a greater narrative derived from this, resulting in the need for newsrooms to diversify and acknowledge cultural dress forms without victimising their journalists.
Tweeted by Sibisi this morning, she said: “I’ve listened + read many of your comments on #Doek including our Editor in Chief A.Harber – some discussions + changes are brewing.”
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa weighed on and said “am appalled n it’s unacceptable” on twitter, writes Karabo Moloi.