Media release

Government defends Ministers' right to privacy

05 March 2011

5 March 2011

Certain Cabinet Ministers' offices have yesterday received enquiries from the media asking whether their Ministers have been to the Gupta family’s house or know of any Ministers who have been.

Government views these questions as an irresponsible fishing expedition that amounts to the violation of the privacy of Ministers. Also, we find it highly irresponsible and beyond the scope of the media’s role to monitor the private movement of Ministers. We do not have to elaborate on the security implications of this behaviour.

South Africa is home to a free press, but we would like to assert that it is home to respect and the right to privacy, as well.

There is no law in South Africa that prohibits anyone, including Cabinet Ministers,  from visiting the house of any person they so wish. Freedom of association is a constitutionally enshrined right enjoyed by all citizens.

The violation of the right to privacy and freedom of association because of the urge by some media to publish any hearsay as news and scandalise innocent relationships as corrupt is, in our view, devoid of ethical journalism.

We hope that as journalists pursue stories they will responsibly make the determination as to what information is private, public or newsworthy.

Jimmy Manyi (Government Spokesperson)
Cell: 082 379 3454

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)

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