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Joint Statement by the Presiding Officers of Parliament and Sanef

Parliament, Wednesday 2 November 2011 – At a meeting today, Wednesday 2 November, a delegation from South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) met with the National Assembly Speaker, Max Sisulu; the Chairman of the National Council of Provinces, Mninwa Mahlangu and the Secretary to Parliament Zingile Dingani.

The meeting took place in response to a request from SANEF discuss Parliament’s policy relating to the media and in particular the letter from Parliament to the editor of the Cape Times relating to the withdrawal of the accreditation of Deon de Lange, a Press Gallery political correspondent employed by Independent Newspapers.

During a constructive and fruitful engagement aimed at ensuring that both Parliament and the media are able to operate optimally in pursuit of their respective roles and duties in the service of citizens and our democracy, the following was agreed to:

• Parliamentary policy specifically relating to members of the media would be re-considered, on the basis of proposals submitted by relevant bodies, during the pending mid-term review by Parliament of said policy
• The process initiated in the letter sent to the Cape Times regarding the accreditation of De Lange would not be pursued in the interests of further engagement taking place in a spirit of co-operation and mutual trust

A meeting requested by Parliament with the Press Gallery Association and other journalists working within Parliament would go ahead on a date to be agreed upon

The meeting took place on the basis of recognition on both sides that there is a need for a healthy working relationship between Parliament and the media, founded on mutual trust and respect for each other’s roles.