A Government delegation led by President Kgalema Motlanthe today met a delegation from the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) in Pretoria to discuss legislation affecting the media.
The SANEF delegation was led by its Chairperson, Jovial Rantao.
President Motlanthe opened the meeting by affirming the important role of media in our society and committing government to work closely with SANEF to resolve any differences that may arise.
The meeting discussed the Film and Publications Bill which has been sent to the President to be signed into law. Government and SANEF agreed that all efforts should be made to resolve the differences before resorting to litigation. After listening to presentations from both Government and the media, the President agreed to apply his mind before assigning the Bill into law. He would also seek legal counsel about the constitutionality of the Bill.
The meeting discussed SANEF’s opposition to what it considers “media unfriendly laws”, with particular reference to compulsory disclosure of sources outlined in section 205 of the Criminal Procedures Act.
It was agreed that a colloquium would be fast-tracked by GCIS and SANEF on the matter and the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development would actively seek other means to allow SANEF to engage the legislative process.
The future of the Presidential Press Corps was discussed. There was a joint commitment to the establishment of a functional Presidential Press Corps in terms of the need for regular high-level engagement by the President and Cabinet with the media.
The President gave an undertaking to start this process by giving regular briefings to the media.
Government and SANEF committed themselves to an in-depth engagement on the longer-term strategic issues faced by both government and the media in the building of a better South Africa.
Themba Maseko (Government Spokesperson)
Cell: 083 645 0810
Jovial Rantao (SANEF)
Cell: 082 446 6008
Henry Jeffreys (SANEF)
Cell: 082 556 8883
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)