The SA National Editors’ Forum has been deeply shocked at the manner in which the Eastern Cape Education authorities have censored the East London Daily Dispatch when the paper sent teams of journalists to report on the start of the matriculation examinations in the province.
While the Dispatch was barred from a number of schools, among them, Grens High School, Clarendon, Selborne, Hudson and Inkwenkwezi High School, journalists from other newspapers and broadcasters such as Die Burger, SABC, eTV and ANN7 were given free access.
When the Dispatch journalists visited the schools, several principals and teachers refused to allow the paper’s news teams to report on the start of the examinations. One principal said he had received strict instructions not to allow journalists from the Dispatch to cover the examinations.
Four schools at Mthatha said they had been told to refer the journalists to the Provincial Departmental spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani.
Sanef points out that the authorities were acting in breach of Section 16 of the Constitution which lays down the rights of Freedom of Expression and Freedom of the Press. Sanef regards such a breach as very serious because it strikes at the heart of the democratic principles which underpin South Africa’s constitution.
Sanef has noted that opposition members of parliament have protested at the conduct of the education authorities and have joined NGOs in the province who described the ban as “ridiculous and outrageous.”
31 October 2013