JOHANNESBURG – President Jacob Zuma’s commitment in his inauguration speech to defending media freedom in South Africa was noted and welcomed by the SA National Editor’s Forum at its council meeting in Johannesburg on Sunday.’We are encouraged by the new president’s remarks on the media and we look forward to further interac-tions with Mr. Zuma and his administration on these issues,’ Sanef Deputy Chair-person Henry Jeffreys said.Sanef also observed that, in spite of earlier fears of threats of violence or pos-sible intimidation of jour-nalists covering the recent general elections, these had not materialised. The In-dependent Electoral Com-mission’s transparency and openness to the media, es-pecially when IEC officials were under huge pressure on Election Day and the re-sults-counting process was noted with appreciation.Editors further expressed serious concerns about re-strictions on journalists’ access to major sporting and other events of public interest. It viewed oner-ous accreditation contracts journalists were required to sign as potentially a threat to media freedom and the public’s right of access to independent in-formation. Sanef felt all sectors of the media – in-cluding owner companies, needed to speak with one voice one this. It would seek to set up a meeting soon of all of these.The Editors further ex-pressed solidarity with Botswana newspapers’ move to take legal action against their government’s establishment of a media tribunal, on the grounds that this legislation was unconstitutional.
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