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South African Media Files Urgent Court Application Against Parliament

Several media houses and freedom advocates, including Primedia Broadcasting, in South Africa, have filed an urgent high court action to get interim relief against South Africa's Parliament. In a press announcement Primedia noted: "The broadcaster was motivated to take a strong stance for media freedom following the jamming of the telecommunication signal in Parliament at last week's state of the nation address." “Our ability to work - freely and fairly - in a functional democracy is of paramount importance and should never be taken for granted,” said Katy Katopodis, editor in chief at Eyewitness News (EWN), Primedia Broadcasting's news service. Primedia Broadcasting, together with Media24, the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef), Right to Know and the Open Democracy Advice Centre, will be asking the Speaker of Parliament to undertake that in the future there will not be any scrambling of telecommunication signals in the Parliamentary chamber. Furthermore the Speaker will be asked to ensure that the live audio and video feed from the cameras capture the totality of the events taking place in the chamber and that the feed is given to the media. “The right to freedom of expression involves the right to receive and impart information. The media play a key role in facilitating the transfer of that information to the general public,” said Primedia Broadcasting's Pheladi Gwangwa. The urgent application will be heard in the Cape High Court on Tuesday.

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