freedom of expression

Judgment Reserved in Cell Jamming Application

Judgment has been reserved in the High Court in Cape Town in an application by the South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) about the cellphone jamming in the National Assembly during this year’s State-of-the-Nation address.

At the core of SANEF's application is the request for the court to order Parliament to allow broadcasters to take their cameras inside the chamber during sessions and not to depend on the Parliamentary feed.

Govt Slammed for Barring Media

The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) has condemned the barring of journalists from the media gallery ahead of delivery of the State of the Province Address by Gauteng Premier, David Makhura.

In a press statement, SANEF states that, “Journalists attending the event were told by legislature officials that the media gallery was occupied by VIP guests and that no reporters were allowed in the House during Makhura's delivery."

SANEF to Approach Courts Over Media Freedom

The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) has expressed its outrage at the illegal clampdown on freedom of expression during the State of the Nation address in Parliament on Thursday, 12 February 2015.
 
The organisation states that it plans to approach the courts and seek a meeting with President Jacob Zuma and Speaker, Baleka Mbete, as soon as possible in order to prevent similar incidents in the future.
 

Electronic Communication Cut Ahead of SONA

Electronic communication from parliament was cut for several hours ahead of President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation speech on 12 February 2014.

A signal scrambler, said to belong to the military, was found in the press gallery at the National Assembly.

The device prevented journalists - who chanted “Bring Back Our Signal” - MPs and the public from making cellphone calls or tweeting from the parliamentary precinct.

Call for Responsible Social Media Use

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) urged the public to use social networking sites responsibly.
 
The call came after the commission resolved a case involving, Ziyaad Kayat, who made anti-semitic statements.
 
In a message sent to the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) Facebook page, Kayat, stated that, "All Jews are pigs and I think we should kill you SA Jews and kill your kids and let you feel what the Palestinians are feeling."
 

NGOs Slam Attacks on Judge Masipa

Several legal organisations say they are concerned by the threats and personal attacks directed at Judge Thokozile Masipa, who presided over the trial of blade runner, Oscar Pistorius.

The Legal Resources Centre, SECTION27, and the Centre for Child Law state that the wave of criticism directed at Masipa personally in relation to her judgment had resulted in her requiring police protection.

Swazi Govt Clamps Down on Free Speech

The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) expresses its deepest concern at reports from Swaziland that Vincent Ncongwane, secretary general of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), was prevented from speaking at a gathering.
 
Ncongwane, who returned from the United States (US) where he attended a civil society meeting held to coincide with the US-Africa Summit hosted by US President Barack Obama, was due to address the gathering on the outcomes of this visit.
 

Two Swazi Govt Critics Convicted

A lawyer in Swaziland says two government critics there have been found guilty of contempt of court in a case that focused attention on human rights in the landlocked African kingdom.

Sipho Gumedze, a human rights lawyer, says that the two critics - a lawyer and a magazine editor - are considering an appeal.

Lawyer, Thulani Maseko, and Bheki Makhubu, editor of Swaziland's The Nation magazine, have been charged after publishing articles in which they lamented alleged threats to judicial independence.

Media Urged to Report the ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’

Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, says the media has a responsibility to report on progress as well as government’s failures.

Ramaphosa told the South African National Editor’s Forum (SANEF) to tell the stories that are good and also those that are difficult, painful and troublesome.

Ramaphosa called on the media to give expression to the struggles and successes of ordinary South Africans and the effects of government policies on their lives.

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