30/06/2017 09:07 SAST | Updated 30/06/2017 09:07 SAST

Tributes Pour In For Dead SABC 8 Journalist Suna Venter

Suna Venter has been hailed as a principled, dedicated journalist.

Mike Hutchings / Reuters
Demonstrators protest against the decision by public broadcaster the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) that it would not broadcast scenes of violent protest, in Cape Town, South Africa, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Tributes have poured in for the SABC 8 journalist who was found dead on Thursday at the age of 32.

The SABC reportedly described Venter as a principled journalists who stood up to unethical behaviour.

The victimisation experienced by Suna Venter leading up to her death on Thursday symbolises an increase in the intimidation of journalists, the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) says.

Her family said she died of a heart condition brought on by trauma and periods of unnatural stress.

"Those closest to her believe that her condition was exacerbated, if not caused, by the events of the past year," her family said.

She was part of a group of eight SABC journalists who were fired, and seven months later reinstated, for objecting to former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng's policy of no longer airing footage of violent protests.

Their reinstatement and a subsequent Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee investigation into the affairs of the SABC were lauded as a victory.

According to EWN, after testifying at the ad hoc committee, Venter was abducted, her car's breaks were tampered with, and her house was broken into.

Spokesperson for the FXI Tusi Fakone reportedly said: "There are some who think that they can deny others of their freedom of expression knowing that it's unlikely that they will ever be held accountable for their action. And I think in Suna's case as well, I think she was subject to threats, attacks etc. and so far no one has been held accountable."

The South African National Editor's Forum (Sanef) hailed Venter for her bravery.

According to EWN, Sanef's Katy Katopodis said the organisation admired Venter's dedication to journalism.

"She was committed to ensuring that the SABC newsroom are free of any kind of editorial interference and for that, she will always be remembered and applauded. Our deepest condolences go out to her parents, her siblings, her colleagues and the media fraternity - all those who know her," she said.