The Economic Freedom Fighters does not need the “affirmation” of eNCA, the party said in a statement.
The statement, released late Saturday night, responded to the broadcaster’s decision to withdraw from covering the EFF’s second policy and elective conference in Johannesburg.
The party has welcomed this decision, but notes that all eNCA journalists who were already accredited to cover the conference are allowed to stay “with us until the end”.
“We know that if they were consulted, these journalists would have chosen to continue covering this historic and important political event in South Africa and the African continent,” the statement reads.
“However, because their boss has spoken, they have no voice.”
The broadcaster announced it would no longer be covering the conference in the wake of the EFF’s banning of Daily Maverick, amaBhungane and Scorpio.
In a statement, eNCA editor-in-chief Jeremy Maggs said: “We believe that the decision by the EFF to bar organisations like amaBhungane, Scorpio and the DailyMaverick is a threat to media freedom. And we have taken a principled decision to stop covering the conference, because we think this is an attack on press freedom in this country.”
The EFF’s statement tries to attack eNCA’s decision and claims different motivations for the withdrawal of coverage: “The EFF’s position on the Rupert-owned eNCA is good riddance, because we know that their withdrawal has nothing to do with DailyMaverick, but everything to do with the fact that in his political report, the EFF CIC Julius Malema exposed the eNCA owner Johan Rupert.”
It later adds that the EFF will not “beg” for coverage from eNCA and welcomes “the fact that they announced they will no longer participate in EFF events”.
Editorial note: It is the Mail & Guardian’s belief that it is unacceptable for a political party to ban media that they disagree with. Journalism is an essential part of democracy, and the free flow of information informs voters.
We will however continue to cover the EFF conference as we believe the third largest political party in the country must be the subject of the attention of news media. This is how we hold those with power to account.