'Freedom of expression in danger'

THE SA National Editors' Forum has denounced attempts by politicians and the government to muzzle the media through "restrictive legislation".

THE SA National Editors' Forum has denounced attempts by politicians and the government to muzzle the media through "restrictive legislation".

In a statement to mark World Press Freedom Day today, Sanef said it was concerned by "encroachments" on freedom of expression and the media locally and in neighbouring countries.

It listed as areas of concern a proposal by the ANC to form a media tribunal to punish "media transgressions" and the Public Service Broadcasting Bill, which it said "envisages an SABC service tied to the Department of International Relations".

"Sanef deplores the outbursts of politicians against the media - in particular accusing it of misrepresentation in attempts to shift blame for their own failures on to the media - and the continued encroachment of restrictive legislation and official conduct."

Sanef also condemned the arrest of journalists at crime scenes, outbursts by politicians against the media and the investigation of journalists' private lives.

"While Sanef recognises the admirable action taken by President Jacob Zuma in admonishing Youth League president Julius Malema for attempting to muzzle the media by carrying out illegal investigations of journalists' private lives, it is concerned that it appears to have little effect and the President's public commitments to press freedom sound hollow when there appears to be no steps taken to curb the abuse of the media by party and government officials."

X