Helen Zille: Journos can’t belong to political parties

2014-01-25 12:53

Journalists cannot be political party members, says DA leader Helen Zille.

“I agree that you can’t be a member of a political party and a journalist,” Zille told reporters in Johannesburg.

“I believe that being a member of a political party is incompatible with some professions.”

Zille was speaking at the announcement of her party’s prospective parliamentary and premier candidates.

She said she was sharing her personal opinion.

Zille said she believed most journalists were politically affiliated to some parties, this was evident in their writing.

In November, it was alleged that several journalists had submitted their names for Democratic Alliance parliamentary candidacy. Their names did not appear on the lists released today.

But the words “confidential candidate” had been placed in some positions on the lists.

Zille said they had wanted to give these candidates time to inform their employers and serve their notices.

“Others, however, may remove their names from the list,” she said.

She said once cleared, the names of these confidential candidates would be announced.

Yesterday, Independent Newspapers said senior journalist Donwald Pressly had been suspended for allegedly applying to be on a political party’s list of parliamentary candidates for the general election.

Said group executive editor Karima Brown: “Mr Pressly did this without informing his editor and while continuing to write news as well as opinion and analysis on the said political party without declaring his political intentions to our readers.”

Pressly is Business Report’s Cape Town bureau chief.

Brown said if the allegation was true, it would constitute a breach of the editorial code of conduct, code of ethics and a breach of trust.

Pressly’s attorney, Michael Bagraim, said his client had been honest about his political affiliation and had admitted to belonging to the DA.

In November, Business Day reported that Sunday Times executive editor Brendan Boyle was suspended after allegedly applying to become a DA MP.

It reported that Boyle sent his curriculum vitae, which was later withdrawn, to the party as part of his application.

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