MEDIA STATEMENT: eNews notes with grave concern the statement issued by GCIS accusing us of bias and selective reporting for not showing video footage of Advocate Gcina Malindi breaking down in tears during today’s court proceedings.
Despite us cautioning GCIS CEO, Jimmy Manyi, that his statement would pre-empt a decision by the judges on the matter he and his office saw fit to make false accusations about our news organisation.
These are the facts:
eNews applied to the court to film the proceedings as we deemed them to be in the public interest. This was granted. In South Africa we are not automatically given the right to have cameras in court to film proceedings. As in previous court cases where we have been granted access, eNews agreed to certain restrictions imposed on us by the court. In the past the judiciary has been concerned, amongst other things, about the media interfering in proceedings and airing sensitive or sensational material unrelated to the matters being argued.
Group Head of News, Patrick Conroy, says “Firstly, eNews respects the rule of law. Advocate Malindi’s breakdown was unexpected and caught our team off guard. The decision was taken not to broadcast the clip until we had clarity from the judges.
“It was clear to us that Advocate Malindi’s tearful breakdown was not only prompted by the arguments in court but also a deeply personal and private trauma. We were mindful the court may have taken a dim view of this being broadcast regardless of our editorial opinion.
“What GCIS fails to recognise is that normal editorial rules do not apply when filming in court. There are judicial sensitivities we must be mindful of and respect.”
eNews lawyers sought clarity on this issue during the adjournment.
Regardless of our personal views the court imposed an interdict on the footage being broadcast. We therefore reject with contempt the statements made by Government that we were censoring ourselves.
We place it on record that we are deeply concerned about Advocate Malindi’s wellbeing. He clearly carries a great deal of pain as a result of his personal experiences during the Apartheid era. We acknowledge his suffering and respect him for contributing to a democratic and free South Africa.
We trust GCIS will issue a suitable retraction of its statement.