The SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) has warned against what it sees as a trend of disciplinary proceedings being instituted against staff who criticise conditions where they work.

Sanef said on Wednesday it had learnt that professors Nithaya Chetty and John van den Berg faced such proceedings for talking to the media about University of KwaZulu-Natal vice- chancellor Professor Malegapuru Makgoba.

The professors have been charged with failing to exercise due care in communicating with the media, and for having released confidential senate information. They were also being accused of dishonesty and/or gross negligence.

Sanef said in a statement it was worried about the effects such proceedings would have on media freedom. Another concern was the impact of this on access to information about conduct in public institutions.

"One result is that employees stop voicing their complaints - leading to an unacceptable drying up of sources of information and thus public interest issues being kept secret."

Comment from UKZN could not be immediately obtained. - Sapa