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SA editors hit out at Lady Gaga over censorship

Staff Reporter

The South African National Editors' Forum has criticised the ban on media photography at the Lady Gaga concerts, saying it's a form of censorship.

Lady Gaga arrived in South Africa on Tuesday. (Gallo)

The Born This Way popstar will perform two concerts in South Africa, on Friday night in Johannesburg and in Cape Town on Monday.

"Sanef views the decision by the organisers to only make available selected publicity photographs as a form of press censorship fundamentally in conflict with the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of media in South Africa," it said in a statement.

Previous accepted practice at such events has been for accredited news photographers to be allowed to take pictures during the first three songs only. Organisers confirmed on Wednesday to Sanef members seeking accreditation that no news photography at all would be allowed.

"This appears to be the first time that such a ban has been imposed and Sanef will be seeking an urgent meeting with the organisers to explain the negative implications of their move for media freedom."

Various religious organisations in South Africa have objected to Lady Gaga touring the country, with some going so far as to claim her music is satanic. The singer cancelled a concert in Indonesia recently over security concerns after threats from religious groups. "[This] makes her visit a matter of real public interest, and not just 'of interest' to her fans."

When Gaga's South Africa tour was announced earlier this year a page called South Africa: No to Lady Gaga and Satanists was created on Facebook, while some took to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service to voice their outrage, sending a BBM message that read: "... Lady Gaga! Real name Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. She sold her soul to the devil for fame and fortune, suddenly having 8-million followers on Twitter, top selling artist and the top winner at the Grammys. This is clearly the devil at work!"

The message went on: "Fellow believers in Christ Jesus, you may or may not know the seriousness of what I am saying now. We need to stand firm against the Lady Gaga concert. She is a self-confessed Satanist and the bride of Satan. Letting her into SA will bring spells of evil."

Sanef said: "Lady Gaga's freedom to visit South Africa and to perform regardless of any offence she may cause to those opposed to her shows, is in fact protected by the freedom of speech provisions in our Constitution. "The very least she and her entourage should do is to carry through that freedom of access to information from her side too."

 

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