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A statement from Daily Maverick Editor-in-Chief Branko Brkic on EFF congress and important media freedom issues

EFF Leader Julius Malema

By Branko Brkic of Daily Maverick
• 14 December 2019
A fierce debate is currently raging on an important question: should the media pull out of covering the EFF National People’s Assembly, following the ‘banning’ of the journalists from Daily Maverick, Scorpio, amaBhungane and possibly other media outlets?

We, at Daily Maverick, believe that the EFF’s ‘ban’ is unconstitutional and intend to test it in court in the new year.

Make no mistake – the only reason the EFF’s leadership made this decision was because of our groundbreaking reporting – specifically on the VBS scandal.

The fact that the EFF has refused to even give us a clear response to our accreditation application was, we believe, a passive-aggressive tactical move, designed to prevent an urgent court action that Daily Maverick might have decided to pursue.

EFF is mistaken in its action. Not only is the ‘ban’ against the spirit of a new, democratic South Africa, it is also not an enforceable sanction. While many of the EFF’s politics and actions may date back to the 1920s and early 1930s, technology has since moved on. Daily Maverick will, in collaboration with our media colleagues and specialist journalists and writers, still provide the great insight and quality analysis we are known for.

The EFF leadership’s ‘ban’ on media brands achieves nothing but exposes their totalitarian bent.

We also firmly believe that our colleagues from other media houses should cover the EFF congress as vigorously as they can. It is, in our opinion, the media’s role to shine a light on society, including the parts who openly wish us harm and advocate for our demise.

Reporting without fear or favour is not an act of ‘publicising’ anyone – it is our duty. Times may be dark and South Africa looks like a country living on a precipice but defend truth we must.
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