Home South African DA slams Ramaphosa over media freedom threat

DA slams Ramaphosa over media freedom threat

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The DA has slammed President Cyril Ramaphosa for allegedly threatening to muzzle the media.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has been criticised for allegedly making threats against media freedom in a leaked recording. Picture: Itumeleng English, Independent Newspapers

THE DA has slammed President Cyril Ramaphosa for allegedly threatening to muzzle the media.

The party’s MP Ashor Sarupen has also called on the South African National Editor’s Forum (Sanef) to probe Ramaphosa over this threat.

This comes after Ramaphosa was heard on a leaked tape saying that the ANC National Working Committee (NWC) had resolved to monitor negative reportage in the media.

On the tape, Ramaphosa is heard saying, “There has been negative reporting and all those things. We have agreed to take that up. We want fair treatment. We want more than fair treatment because we are the governing party. TV stations have no right to be negative towards us and always either are not reporting on our activities or just continuously brand us in a negative way. We have agreed as the NWC that there will be a team of comrades who are going to be watching the space, all the time, and we are going to make sure we take that up.”

The DA said the president’s directive to control media narratives and suppress negative coverage of the ANC was deeply concerning, adding that it was reminiscent of past attempts to capture vital institutions like the SABC.

“This blatant manipulation seeks to sway public opinion and undermine the democratic process. In light of these revelations, the DA calls on the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) to condemn this egregious manipulation of the media. Sanef, as a champion of media freedom and democracy, must not stay silent in the face of such flagrant abuses of power,“ said Sarupen.

Sarupen added that Sanef must take a firm stance against such utterances.

“We urge Sanef to uphold its constitutional objectives, particularly Section 4.1.1, which emphasises the promotion of a free, independent, and pluralistic press. It is imperative that Sanef takes a firm stance against any attempts to coerce or control journalists in their reporting duties,” he said.

The ANC said it had a long-standing principle not to comment on leaked information “because we do not want to dignify unethical behaviour with a response.”

It added: “While the ANC will not be drawn on statements made by individual leaders during its meetings, the ANC is confident of the impact its elections campaign is making and the positive reception the movement is receiving across the length and breadth of the country.”

Meanwhile, addressing a media briefing on Monday, ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula said the party would seek state help in dealing with people who intercepted their private meetings.

“We condemn the interception of our meetings as the ANC, and we urge them to refrain from this unfair treatment of the ANC as we have observed that other political parties do not get intercepted as they discuss their election activities and planning meetings.

“Allow the ANC to present its plans just as other political parties are given the same opportunity to do so without any interceptions.”

He also suggested that his party would seek the state’s protection after the recording of the meeting was leaked.

“If it was the ANC intercepting meetings of political parties, you will accuse us of misusing state resources,” said Mbalula.

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