Sanef condemns barring of media from legislature

By Drum Digital
24 February 2015

The SA National Editors Forum on Monday condemned the barring of journalists from the media gallery ahead of delivery of the state-of-the-province address by Premier David Makhura.

"Journalists attending the event were told by legislature officials that the media gallery was occupied by VIP guests and that no reporters were allowed in the House during Makhura's delivery," the organisation said in a statement.

Journalists were accommodated in a committee room, equipped with a television screen, on which they had to watch and listen to Makhura's address.

"The microphones of certain MPLs were switched off when they rose on points of order, and journalists couldn't hear what was said."

Deputy speaker of the legislature Uhuru Moiloa denied that the press was barred from the gallery.

"The media gallery, which is very small, has its television screen, I saw at least nine cameras in the media gallery," Moiloa said.

"If people were in the committee room, then it means there was no space left in the media gallery."

Sanef said photographers who were accredited to take pictures were only allowed in the House for a few minutes, while the legislature was out of session.

The organisation said it would seek an explanation from the Speaker of the national assembly.

"Sanef is disappointed and shocked by this blatant undermining of freedom of expression by the Gauteng legislature. It comes a mere ten days after cellphone signals were blocked during the state-of-the-nation address in Cape Town."

Source : Sap

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