Sanef slates ban

The SA National Editors Forum yesterday condemned the closure to public attendance of the parliamentary select committee on social services.

The SA National Editors Forum yesterday condemned the closure to public attendance of the parliamentary select committee on social services.

Sanef spokesman, Raymond Louw said the workshop discussed the proposed Films and Publications Amendment Bill which contained clauses that directly affected media freedom.

"This prevents the media and other interested parties from viewing the proceedings and hearing how its representations and those from other civil society organisations and lawyers, both commissioned by the committee and by interested parties, are dealt with by the parliamentarians on the Select Committee," said Louw.

The committee initially said the workshop would be open to the public though the public would not be able to make representations.

The committee yesterday afternoon said the workshop would be closed to the public, Louw said.

"Sanef regards this action by the committee as highly undemocratic and as striking at the core media freedom and freedom of expression rights in the Constitution.

"The question arises what the parliamentarians will say in private that cannot be said in public. The action also lends credence to the suspicion that an underlying aim of the Bill is to introduce media censorship."

Sanef condemned the committee's action and called for the workshop to be opened to the public, Louw said. - Sapa

X