The Constitution guarantees freedom of the press and the public’s access to information
MINISTER of Women Bathabile Dlamini’s snubbing of eNCA at the launch of the government’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is shocking.
She claims not to have known that her officials were shielding her from eNCA and/or that she did not have time for interviews with both eNCA and the SABC. She says she, therefore, referred eNCA to a provincial MEC while she spoke to the SABC.
eNCA, though, is standing by its team which says that while they were filming Dlamini’s arrival for the launch in KwaMagwaza, KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday, the minister and her officials denied them an interview and asked them to leave because she was not comfortable with their presence.
The SABC was granted an interview as they “know the parameters” – a clear reference to the fact that they would treat Dlamini with kid gloves, sticking to her script and refraining from questions about her continued presence in the Cabinet. This in spite of the fact that she was found to have possibly lied under oath about the Sassa debacle when she was minister of Social Development.
It is unacceptable for a minister, who is the face of a national government campaign like the 16 Days of Activism, to discriminate between media organisations covering such an event. It is doubly concerning coming at a time when leaders of the opposition, including the EFF’s Julius Malema, have launched attacks on journalists at events and online.
The Constitution guarantees freedom of the press and the public’s access to information.
The media must stand firm and united against this onslaught.