She is particularly scathing of newspapers which she claims “allow themselves to be used for unattributed disinformation and for hatchet jobs which clearly serve a chosen political faction and are abusing press freedom.”
As an example she names Sunday Independent as “a mouthpiece for those persons who are trying to unseat the SABC Board.”
In addition she feels strongly that the ANC is threatening press freedom. “It is under attack from the ANC. The Film and Publication Amendment Act introduced pre-publication censorship unconstitutionally on the pretense that it is trying to combat child pornography. The ANC holds out the threat of introducing a Media Tribunal to intimidate the print media,” says Smuts.
Smuts welcomes the recently launched SABC election coverage plans, particularly the appointment of complaints officer Zolile Majova. However the DA still perceives the public broadcaster as “trying hard to shake off the ruling party bias of the previous Board’s incumbency period.
“The whole of the constitutional state, including media freedom, is at stake in the forthcoming election. Report freely but fairly and accurately.”