This morning, the Presidency released a statement asking the press to be more objective and fair in their comments about the government and the President.
The DA finds this a highly ironic statement to be made on National Press Freedom Day, when the Presidency should be celebrating freedom of the press rather than asking them to bite their tongues.
On the 19th of October every year, South Africans recall the “Black Wednesday” of 1977, when several newspapers, people and organisations were banned for daring to speak out against an oppressive apartheid regime. The Presidency’s comments are more in step with apartheid-style oppression than with the constitutionally guaranteed media freedom and freedom of expression we should be celebrating today.
The type of statement made by the Presidency today and the government’s dogged attempts to pass a Secrecy Bill that will gag the South African media defies the very freedom for which we should all be fighting.
On National Press Freedom Day, the President could have used the opportunity to say ‘no’ to the Secrecy Bill, instead of asking the media to hold back on their opinions of him and his government.