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Sanef Statement on the chaos in parliament and the cutting of broadcast feed.

Sanef Media Statement : November 14 2014

The SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) is disturbed by the continuing interference with the audio and visual feeds from Parliament each time there is chaos in the National Assembly.

On Thursday, the feed was cut off at a time when there were scuffles. This followed two other incidents on August 21 and last week when a member of the opposition was arguing with the Speaker ending with that Member being suspended. In this latter instance, the feed was manipulated to stay focussed on the Speaker, thus not allowing the public to get the full picture of the ongoings in the House.

Sanef on Monday dispatched a letter to the spokesperson of Parliament, Mr Luzuko Jacobs, protesting against the soft censorship that is creeping into the broadcasting of proceedings and has requested a meeting to discuss the issues and find lasting solutions that would allow media to fulfil its constitutional role of informing South Africans fully and in an unbiased manner.

Sanef reiterates its call for Presiding Officers in Parliament to ensure that there is no censorship of the debates in the House irrespective of the content of those debates and the need for Presiding Officers to protect the image of the House.  We also call for a speedy arrangement of the meeting to fully discuss these issues. This more so that at a press conference convened by the presiding officers this morning (Friday), no clarity was provided about who ordered the feed to be cut.