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Parly’s policy of filming & broadcasting ‘patently unconstitutional’

Five organisations are challenging Parliament's broadcast policy, which came into effect in 2009.

Visuals of the physical removal of EFF MPs from Parliament during Sona last month were not broadcast live because cameras at the time were fixed on the presiding officers.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape High Court has heard that in its current form, Parliament's policy of filming and broadcasting is patently unconstitutional.

Five organisations, including Primedia Broadcasting, want an urgent court order compelling Parliament to ensure an uninterrupted visual and audio feed.

Visuals of the physical removal of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Members of Parliament (MPs) from the National Assembly chamber during the State of the Nation Address last month were not broadcast live because cameras at the time were fixed on the presiding officers.

Five organisations are challenging Parliament's broadcast policy, which came into effect in 2009.

Their lawyer, Steven Budlender, argues the public has the right to see the disruptions in Parliament and there is no reason why they should rely on second-hand accounts of what happens.

Budlender adds this matter is of considerable public interest and is undoubtedly urgent.

He says his clients can't understand why a wide-angle static shot of such a disruption would undermine the dignity of Parliament.

Lawyer for the respondents, Jeremy Gauntlett, argued that Parliament does have the power to regulate access.