Barbara Maregele

MAJOR Cape newspapers have supported a call to withdraw coverage of the Lady Gaga concert at Cape Town Stadium today.

Gaga’s management team confirmed to the SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) that no news photographers would be allowed to cover the event.

Sanef said last week this attempt to control coverage was “unprecedented”. News photographers were usually allowed to at least take shots of the first three songs.

A recommendation by the deputy chairman of Sanef’s Media Freedom Committee, Raymond Louw, for editors to withdraw coverage of the event has led to the Cape Times, Weekend Argus, Cape Argus,The Voice and Die Burger deciding not to cover it.

Cape Times editor Alide Dasnois said: “Lady Gaga’s agents want to force us to use official photographs instead of allowing us to take our own. In protest against this attempt to control our coverage we have decided not to cover the event at all.”

The Voice editor Shane Doran said celebrities shouldn’t be able to “tear up the rule book because they want to control the supply of information.”

Publicists for Big Concerts, Pamberi Communications, said yesterday the ban extended to all countries involved in Lady Gaga’s global tour.

The city’s Tourism, Events and Marketing director, Anton Groeneweld, said this was not the first time a ban on news photography had been imposed. “It was the same request at the U2 concert last year. The artists have a right to accredit the photographers they want. Our standard protocol says only accredited photographers are allowed. None of those photographers are allowed to shoot the concert with a long lens camera as part of a privacy policy for the artist,” he said.

Groeneweld said fans were welcome to take their phones and smaller digital cameras to the event.

Mayor Patricia De Lille said she saw no grounds for the ban, as “there will be so many people taking pictures with their cellphones…”

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