Round 2 of Parly’s broadcast policy to be argued in court

Five organisations want the Western Cape High Court to declare the policy invalid.

MPs look on as members of the EFF, wearing red uniforms, clash with security forces during the State of the Nation Address in Cape Town on 12 February, 2015. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament and several media organisations are gearing up for another legal battle which puts the national legislature's broadcast policy under scrutiny.

Five organisations, including Primedia Broadcasting and the Right to Know (R2K) campaign, want the Western Cape High Court to declare the policy invalid because it prevents the public from viewing instances of grave disorder during Parliamentary sittings.

The Western Cape High Court on Tuesday dismissed an application for an urgent interim order compelling Parliament to ensure an uninterrupted visual and audio feed and to show a wide-angle shot of the National Assembly chamber when there are disruptions in the house.

In an 11 page judgment, three High Court judges dismissed the application for interim relief but said the issues raised are of national importance.

For this reason they believe it warrants an expedited hearing dealing with the Constitutionality of Parliament's Filming and Broadcasting Policy.

The R2K campaign is one of the applicants.

Spokesperson Murray Hunter says, "That means we have over a month and a half to the moment where we have an opportunity to argue these issues in detail and make sure that broadcasting policy in Parliament is Constitutional, is compliant with the public's right to know what is happening in Parliament."

The judges have dismissed Parliament's argument that court intervention would undermine the principle of separation of powers and they've set a court date for 20 April.