Julius Malema: We are for media freedom, but not for those 'whose agenda is to destroy the EFF'

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EFF president Julius Malema.
EFF president Julius Malema.
Felix Dlangamandla

EFF president Julius Malema says media freedom in the party is guaranteed, but only for the "genuine".

Malema was delivering the party's political report during the plenary session of its second National People's Assembly (NPA) in Nasrec, Johannesburg on Saturday morning.

Malema said most media publications were "hungry dogs of factions of the ruling party and domestic and global capitalist institutions".

The leader said that while the party was for media freedom, it was not for publications "whose proclaimed agenda is to destroy the EFF".

READ | Daily Maverick to report on EFF Assembly despite ban, while eNCA cancels coverage

He said the party's constitutional right of association was also a right not to associate themselves with people it wished not to, including "representatives of enemy forces".

Malema said no other institution in South Africa was as manipulative and abusive as the media.

"As the second NPA, we must reaffirm our commitment to defend the independence of the media. We need well-qualified journalists. We need seasoned journalist who will not seek to impress their white bosses," the leader said.

Media ban

There has been a wide debate surrounding the party's ban on media publication Daily Maverick from its conference.

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has since condemned the party's move.

Malema said there needs to be strengthening of the Press Ombudsman as well as the South African Broadcasting Complaints Commission. He reiterated that the fourth state needed to be held accountable as it held social powers.

ALSO READ | EFF's Ndlozi: 'The media needs a watchdog with teeth'

"They have the power to inform or dis-inform society. At times to the detriment of people's health, safety.

"Sensationalism is now the order of the day. No other political party in post-apartheid South Africa has been declared from editorial pages as an enemy, other than the EFF," the leader said.

He added that the media needs to introspect on how they report on the party. He added that there was evidence to prove the media's stance on the EFF.

"South African media, stop being in denial."

The leader referred to articles which had been published by various publications. Earlier this year, the Daily Maverick published an expose of how the party's leadership travelled to Cape Town for the State of the Nation Address and booked into expensive accommodation and dined to expensive food and alcohol.

READ MORE: EFF faces Camps Bay guesthouse 'damages' claim - report

On Friday, Sanef released a statement calling on the party to reverse its decision to ban certain publications from covering the elective conference. The forum said it had learnt that Daily Maverick, Scorpio, amaBhungane and Rapport had been banned from the conference.

Shortly after the statement was released, News24's editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson announced that as an act of solidarity with the publications who had been banned, News24 would make their stories available and ask questions on the banned publications' behalf.

On Saturday, Daily Maverick vowed to continue to report on the event despite the publication being denied access. 

"We, at Daily Maverick, believe that the EFF's 'ban' is unconstitutional and intend to test it in court in the new year. Make no mistake – the only reason the EFF's leadership made this decision was because of our groundbreaking reporting – specifically on the VBS scandal,the publication's Editor-in-Chief Branko Brkic, said in a statement as the assembly got underway.  

The EFF previously told News24 that it was unapologetic about its stance on media publication, the Daily Maverick.

Television broadcaster eNCA has since taken the decision to withdraw itself from covering the four-day event, also in solidarity with the banned publications, its editor Jeremy Maggs said.

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