No 'crackdown' on media during SONA - Mbete

2017-02-13 12:39
MPs gather for the SONA 2017. (Adriaan Basson, News24)

MPs gather for the SONA 2017. (Adriaan Basson, News24)

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Cape Town – There is no way that Parliament would go all out and institute a crackdown on journalists, Speaker Baleka Mbete says.

This was in response to the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) expressing concern over the security crackdown on the media during President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address last week.

Some journalists were prevented from doing their jobs as events unfolded, including during the dramatic ejection of parliamentarians.

But on Monday, Mbete denied claims of a crackdown.

"We view journalists as part and parcel of a democracy, where we find that there is a very important role that journalists play and in fact we have made statements to that effect."

Security getting 'worse and worse'

To say there was a crackdown on journalists, she said, was not a true reflection of the relationship and the arrangements made with media ahead of SONA.

"I made it clear, journalists play a vital role, and so there is no way that Parliament can go all out and crack down on journalists," she said.

Parliament would welcome detailed reports on the matter, she said.

On Sunday, Sanef called on Parliament’s political and administrative leadership to address the heightening of security measures and securitisation.

"We are clearly seeing an increase in security since 2015, and seeing it get worse and worse every year," deputy chairperson Katy Katopodis said during a briefing in Cape Town.

Riot police blocked off a road that journalists needed to use in order to return to their offices and makeshift studios, ignoring their shouts to be let through.

Police also prevented some photographers from capturing scenes in the precinct.

Read more on:    sanef  |  baleka mbete  |  cape town  |  parliament 2017  |  sona 2017  |  media

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