Court expected to hand down judgment on Parly’s broadcast policy

Five organisations want an interim order compelling Parliament to ensure an uninterrupted broadcast feed.

FILE: The Western Cape High Court is expected to hand down judgment on Tuesday in a case relating to the public's right to see what goes on in Parliament. Picture: Screengrab

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape High Court is expected to hand down judgment on Tuesday in a case relating to the public's right to see what goes on in Parliament.

Five organisations, including Primedia Broadcasting, want an urgent interim order compelling Parliament to ensure an uninterrupted broadcast feed during proceedings and to show a wide angle shot of the chamber during incidents of grave disturbances.

It comes after visuals of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Parliamentarians being dragged out of the National Assembly chamber by police and security personnel for interrupting the President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address (Sona) last month were not shown on live television.

With an eye on Zuma's question and answer session in the National Assembly tomorrow, the applicant's regard this case as urgent.

They're seeking interim relief pending the finalisation of the matter.

Their lawyer Steven Budlender told a full bench of judges on Friday that in its current form, Parliament's policy on filming and broadcasting is unconstitutional because it impinges on the right of the public to see for themselves what goes on in the National Assembly.

Parliament's policy, adopted in 2009, states cameras in the house should focus on the presiding officers when there is a disruption during proceedings.

Parliament's counsel argued the national legislature has the right to take reasonable measures to regulate public access.