The media fraternity has resolved to urgently engage President Jacob Zuma on the continued application of the principles of media freedom that are entrenched in our constitution. Editors, journalists and media organisations came out in their numbers in Sandton today to discuss the way forward following ANC Youth League President Julius Malema’s verbal attack on a journalist yesterday, as well as his continued tirade against the media. The National Press Club convened the urgent media summit. Various media bodies were represented, including the Foreign Correspondents Association,
The Professional Journalists Association and the Southern African Freelancers Association. Individual members of the South African National Editors’ Forum also participated in the discussions. “Discussions and debate were open and robust. The media fraternity is united on this issue,” said Yusuf Abramjee, chairman of the National Press Club. It was resolved that the media would urgently engage President Jacob Zuma in his capacity as President of the ANC, the mother-body of the ANCYL. “We will immediately write a letter to President Zuma, where we will express our concerns and appeal for the protection of the media. We will also raise media literacy issues. There will also be a request for a meeting,” Abramjee said. The National Press Club noted the statement released by the ANC today that condemns Malema’s actions. The club is of the opinion that Malema’s behaviour is contradictory to the undertaking by Zuma at the club’s Newsmaker of the Year Banquet recently, that journalists should not be victimised under any circumstances.
The summit also resolved that it would not boycott the flow of news from the ANCYL, or any other organisation, as this would amount to irresponsible behaviour by the journalistic fraternity. However, the summit agreed that journalists could walk out of media briefings if they feel that their journalistic ethics are being undermined. A steering committee was elected during the summit, representing various media bodies and organisations. “As the Professional Journalists Association we feel that today’s meeting was constructive and productive. We look forward to resolving this issue constructively moving forward,” said General Secretary of Pro-Journ, Samantha Perry. Abramjee concluded: “The meeting was very useful and we need to resolve this matter as one of urgency.
The media being treated with contempt must cease immediately, as well as the name calling. We will continue to address issues that infringe on media freedom.” Released by National Press Club Secretariat Tel: 012 804 5199 Enquiries: Yusuf Abramjee, National Press Club Chairman, 082 441 4203