Johannesburg - The South African National Editors’ Forum has hit out at government for excluding several community media journalists from a visit to the Medupi Power Station and to the launch of the new District Development Model in Waterberg, on Tuesday.
Sanef said government had unfairly discriminated against community media journalists based in Limpopo, when they were left off a bus taking journalists to the site.
“The journalists were invited on a trip to cover the launch of 16 days of activism, including a visit to the Medupi Power Station and the launch of a new District Development Model in Waterberg aimed at ensuring integrated planning, budgeting and development by all three spheres of government,” explained Hopewell Radebe, Sanef’s acting Gauteng regional convenor.
“Reports to Sanef indicate that community media journalists were left off the bus which was transporting all media. Only a selected group of journalists were invited. The community media were also excluded from a media networking session,” he said.
The President was briefed on the status of the project - #Medupi will be the world’s fourth largest coal-fired power station and once completed, it will be able generate enough electricity to power almost the whole of the Gauteng province pic.twitter.com/pszBXrlj8a— PresidencyZA (@PresidencyZA) November 26, 2019
Radebe said the forum was worried by the exclusion of community media.
“Community media lack the resources - financial and otherwise – to get to far-flung areas and other destinations and for government to arbitrarily pull the plug on such support is unfair. This affects the free flow of information particularly to rural communities which are dependent on the community media sector,” said Radebe.
He said the move by government to exclude community media would have the unintended consequence of reinforcing the EFF’s decision to ban publications and news organisations such as the Daily Maverick, Scorpio and amaBhungane.
“Sanef reiterates that all journalists should be invited and be welcome at all public events and that special provisions should be made for community media. “ SANEF calls for transparency and accountability to be prioritised by all state entities including political parties in the National Assembly, the provincial legislatures and local government,” said Radebe.