Media houses and other organisations challenging the signal jamming during the state of the nation address in February and parliament’s policy on broadcasting have been granted leave to appeal the matter at the supreme court of appeal, an attorney for the applicants tweeted on Thursday.
“@ewnreporter @SAEditorsForum @ODAC_SA @r2kcampaign granted leave 2 appeal #SignalJamming #ParlyBroadcast case 2 SCA — Bloemfontein beckons,” Dario Milo tweeted.
According to a statement by parliament on 28 May, the Western Cape high court dismissed the application by Media24, Primedia, the South African National Editors’ Forum and two other parties challenging a clause in parliament’s broadcasting policy that dealt with coverage of unparliamentary behaviour and for the use of a signal jammer during the address to be declared unlawful.
Parliament said the court found that “there is no obligation on parliament to broadcast conduct that clearly obstructs or disrupts its proceedings and conduct that unreasonably impairs its ability to conduct its business in an orderly and regular manner acceptable in a democratic society simply because such conduct is not legitimate parliamentary business”.
“The measures under discussion are ‘reasonable measures’ employed to regulate public access, including access of the media, to parliament. When one contrasts this with the suggestion from the applicants … that parliament must feed for broadcasting visuals of the grossest behaviour and gravest disorder without limitation the latter is and remains unreasonable,” the court said, according to parliament.
It also found that parliament could not by blamed for the use of the jamming device.
The application followed the eviction of Economic Freedom Fighters MPs from the national assembly during the state of the nation address, which was not broadcast.
The parliamentary feed that day instead focused on national assembly speaker Baleka Mbete and national council of provinces chairman Thandi Modise.
Some journalists took cellphone footage of the incident, in contravention of parliament’s policy, and had protested at the start when they were unable to file stories or use social media on their devices. — News24