Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams blocked journalists from covering protests, and it does not sit well with the South African National Editors Forum. The journalists wanted to cover protesters at an ANC elections manifesto in the Eastern Cape.
Communications Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, was caught on camera preventing journalists from covering service delivery protests in the Eastern Cape.
Protesters were protesting at an ANC elections manifesto launch in Mount Frere, and the minister did not want the media to cover what was happening.
The South African National Editors Forum condemned Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams' actions, according to a report by The Citizen.
Briefly.co.za learned that SANEF issued a statement that reads as follows:
Sanef has seen the video footage which was also broadcast on television stations showing the minister preventing the journalists from covering the protest and ordering them to cover what they came for and not give coverage to ‘people that are out of order’. Irate supporters stormed the rally complaining about poor service delivery. Journalists from the SABC and other media were among those blocked.
Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams has since apologised for the incident:
I would like to offer my sincere unreserved apologies for an earlier altercation with some members of the media during the ANC provincial rally in Mount Frere whilst trying to stop the singing comrades.
I wish to assure the media and South Africans at large my unreserved commitment to media freedom. I sincerely regret the incident.
However, SANEF is still worried about the incident happening in the first place.
While we note the minister has apologised for the incident, we are concerned that she refers to her actions as an ‘altercation’. Given the minister’s high profile portfolio relating in particular to the SABC, we would like to have an urgent meeting with her to discuss the matter and our concerns.
The SABC did air the footage their journalists recorded, defying the minister's attempt at blocking them.
We also salute the SABC for airing the footage, showing fierce editorial independence and a shift from the recent past where freedom of expression was undermined at the public broadcaster.
Enjoyed reading our story? Download BRIEFLY's news app on Google Play now and stay up-to-date with major South African news!