R2K and ODAC were disappointed to learn of the judgment handed down in the Western Cape High Court yesterday in relation to our challenge of the Parliament’s broadcasting policy and the use of signal jamming at the State of the Nation Address in February 2015.
The majority judgment found in favour of the Speaker of Parliament and other respondents, while a minority judgement found in favour of the applicants (Primedia Broadcasting, Sanef, R2K and ODAC).
While the majority judgement dismissed the challenge to Parliament’s broadcasting policy, we are encouraged by a strong dissenting judgement from Judge Savage. In it, she writes that “Openness repeal the exercise of secret power and ensures accountability to the people.”
Judge Savage also argues that Parliament’s broadcasting policies are an unreasonable restriction of our right to know what happens in the legislature. Judge Savage also argues that the State Security Agency’s use of signal jamming in the house without the specific permission of the Speaker or Chairperson was unlawful, even if it was accidental.
We believe that Parliament’s broadcasting policy allows for censorship, undermining the right of all South Africans to know what is happening in Parliament – good and bad. In doing so, it threatens to close Parliament off from the people.
We will seek advice from our attorneys at the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and are strongly
considering appealing the decision at the Supreme Court of Appeal.