Parly wins part-one in broadcast policy battle

An urgent bid to have Parliament ensure uninterrupted visual and audio feeds has been dismissed.

FILE: MPs look on as members of the EFF clash with security forces during Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address in Cape Town on 12 February, 2015.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament has won the first of a two-part legal battle related to the public's right to see what goes on in the national legislature.

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

However, the urgent application was dismissed by the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

The organisations took the matter to court after visuals of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) parliamentarians being dragged out of the National Assembly chamber by police and security personnel was not broadcast live.

The five organisations have failed to secure an urgent interim order.

But the fight is not over.

The application was dismissed because they failed to prove that irreparable harm would be suffered if the order was not granted.

A full bench of judges found it would be premature to make a finding on the constitutionality of the relevant provisions of Parliament's broadcast policy.

So important is this case however, the judges said, it warranted an expedited hearing set down for 20 April.

The finalisation of the second part of the application will determine whether Parliament's policy on filming and broadcasting is invalid, so far it as doesn't allow wide angle shots of the chamber during incidents of grave disorder.