/ 30 July 2009

Sanef lashes ‘privileged accreditation’ for Zuma’s stadium visit

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) on Thursday condemned the ”privileged accreditation” to four journalists who accompanied President Jacob Zuma on a tour of Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium while other journalists were excluded.

”This was totally inadequate for the coverage of a news event, because it was selective and potentially excludes material which may be newsworthy,” Sanef chairperson Jovial Rantao said in a statement.

Condemning the move by the Government Communication and Information Service (GCIS), Sanef said the visit had been part of Zuma’s countrywide visit to 2010 sites.

The tour took place on Saturday and the ”privileged journalists” were listed as being from the Daily News, the Mercury, the Sunday Times and the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

Sanef said that journalists from the South African Press Association, e.tv, the Sowetan, Talk Radio 702, Ilanga, Gagasi FM, the Daily Sun and other media groups were excluded.

”Journalists said city officials told them they were restricted from increasing the select group and only one journalist per media house was allowed to accompany the president,” it said.

”Sanef views privileged accreditation and the exclusion of a majority of journalists from a newsworthy function, especially one that involves the president, as unacceptable and unconstitutional censorship,” Rantao said.

Sanef was surprised that Zuma, who recently assured the organisation’s members of his unequivocal support for media freedom, had allowed himself to be placed in a position where he was seen as condoning censorship.

The forum on Thursday also called on the eThekwini municipality to ensure that matters pertaining to 2010 were communicated to all media at all times.

Rantao said the forum would raise the issue with the Fifa Local Organising Committee, GCIS, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize, and Zuma himself. – Sapa