The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) has slammed the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for allegedly barring certain journalists from the party’s 2nd National People’s Assembly (NPA).
The NPA kicks off on Friday at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg, Gauteng. It is expected to elect EFF’s new leadership for the next five years as well as discuss policies.
In a statement on Friday, SANEF said, “SANEF has learnt that the EFF has denied access to journalists from Daily Maverick, Scorpio, amaBhungane, Rapport and Caxton publications, among several media outlets.”
‘Decision to bar is unconstitutional’
SANEF called on the EFF “to include a diversity of journalists” at the NPA, adding that the alleged decision to bar certain journalists was “unconstitutional.”
It added, “The EFF’s ban of certain publications is in effect diminishing citizens right to receive information to make informed decisions about politics – including their view of the EFF.
“The ban was imposed by the EFF to punish specific media organisations for reporting on their alleged corruption and theft i.e. journalists are being excluded for doing their job.
“The EFFs actions signal a warning to other media houses not to report critically and without fear or favour on wrongdoing. This ban is thus an act of intimidation.”
‘Uphold your oath of office’
SANEF called on EFF leader Julius Malema to uphold his oath of office as a member of Parliament and allow the journalists access.
It said, “If this decision to exclude certain media organisations is not reversed, we call on MPs to sanction Mr Malema.
“Finally, SANEF is not convinced by the EFF’s argument that the reason it excluded some journalists is due to lack of space at Nasrec.”
At a media briefing at midday on Friday, EFF Secretary-General Godrich Gardee said the party is “fine with all media houses except for those who descend into the arena, masquerading as journalists but in actual fact are politicians.”
EFF has been especially critical of Daily Maverick, Scorpio and amaBhungane, which have published a series of reports claiming that Malema and EFF Deputy President Floyd Shivambu allegedly used money flowing from the collapsed VBS Mutual Bank to fund their lavish lifestyles.
Their reports have also claimed EFF allegedly benefitted from a company linked to a fleet tender in the City of Johannesburg.