South Africa 12.2.2015 06:33 pm

Sanef condemns SONA cellphone jamming

Picture: AFP

Picture: AFP

The SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) condemned the jamming of cellphone signals inside the National Assembly ahead of President Jacob Zuma’s eighth state-of-the-nation address on Thursday.

“This disrupts the functioning of the media particularly as journalists are filing using cellphone signal for digital platforms, sending pictures back to their main offices and updating Facebook and Twitter accounts for various publications,” Sanef executive director Mthatha Tsedu said.

“We call on the leadership of Parliament to reverse this decision immediately in the interest of a free and democratic Parliament which is the cornerstone of our democracy.”

Many journalists attending the state-of-the-nation address in Cape Town complained on Twitter that once they had entered the House they could no longer use their cellphones.

MPs were also heard complaining about the jamming.

Tsedu said if Parliament refused to unjam the signal it would amount to censorship.

“[They will be] censoring what South Africans must see or hear or read about what will be happening today [Thursday].”

The Economic Freedom Fighters has vowed to disrupt Zuma’s address unless a special sitting of the National Assembly is scheduled beforehand for him to answer questions about the upgrades to his private homestead at Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal.

There is a probability that if the House descends into chaos like last year that the parliamentary in-house television feed could be cut.

Tsedu said Sanef had been in talks with Parliament regarding this.

“We have said to them if they are going to cut the feed when other interesting things are happening they should allow others such as SABC or ANN7 or others to bring in their own cameras,” he said.

 

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