The ANC treasury general and presidential candidate Zweli Mkhize said media houses should not allow themselves to be used as proxies in factionalism and political battles.
He was speaking at the South African National Editor’s Forum (SANEF) fundraising dinner held in Johannesburg on Wednesday evening.
He is in the race for the party’s top position with deputy president Cyril ramaphosa, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Baleka Mbete, Lindiwe Sisuslu, Jeff Radebe and Mathews Phosa.
Mkhize said the media was a powerful entity which has the power to make the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent.
“Free media is the lifeblood of any self respecting democracy. We should never repeat the mistakes of the past and therefore press freedom should always be protected. We have to make sure protecting the media is a culture all South Africans have,” he said.
He said government needed the media in as much as the media needed government. “Media and government should have a dynamic relationship,” he said.
Mkhize also welcomed the appointment of the new SABC board and said journalists should not be targeted for doing their jobs.
“One of the most important weapons in dealing with corruption is exposing it and journalists should be commended for investigative reports which expose corruption.”
He said journalists should maintain balance when reporting and not be influenced by commercial interests or be allowed to be used as proxies in political battles.
Here are some of the tweets from social media users about the ANC treasury general’s address:
— Sipho Masondo (@vercingetorics) October 18, 2017
Mkhize criticises BLF for protesting at journalists’ homes. Lauds media for exposing corruption, hugely important. @SAEditorsForum
— Adriaan Basson (@AdriaanBasson) October 18, 2017
We should never end up repeating the mistakes of past, therefore press freedom should always be protected #SANEF
— ZweliMkhize (@ANCTGMkhize) October 18, 2017