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Battle against Parliament's broadcast policy in court

Primedia and several organisations are challenging Parliament's policy on filming and broadcasting.

FILE: Members of the media gathered in their numbers, patiently waiting for President Zuma to arrive. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - A court case about the public's right to see for themselves what goes on in Parliament when Members of Parliament (MPs) cause 'disorder' is currently being argued in the Western Cape High Court.

Primedia Broadcasting and several organisations are challenging Parliament's policy on filming and broadcasting.

As a result of that policy, video footage of the scuffles between Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Parliamentarians and police in plain clothes during the State of the Nation Address (Sona) in February were not shown on live television.

Parliament adopted its broadcasting policy in 2009.

It states, cameras in the National Assembly should be fixed on the presiding officer during incidents of "grave disorder", similar to what happened during the Sona in February.

The applicants say this so called "disorder clause" is invalid.

Alternatively, they argue the policy as a whole should be declared unconstitutional because it was adopted through an irrational process.

In addition, they want an order declaring the use of signal jamming devices in Parliament unlawful.

This is round two of their legal challenge.

An attempt to secure an urgent order against Parliament had previously failed.

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