Media take Parliament broadcast policy to SCA

Media organisations, including Primedia Broadcasting, are challenging Parliament's broadcasting policy.

FILE: Members of the media gathered in their numbers, patiently waiting for President Zuma to arrive for the State of the Nation Address 2015. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Several media organisations, including Primedia Broadcasting, which are challenging Parliament's broadcasting policy, will now be taking their case to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

The media houses, along with the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) and the Right2Know Campaign, challenged Parliament earlier this year to compel the so called 'disorder clause' to be declared unconstitutional.

But two out of three High Court judges ruled in Parliament's favour.

In a case that will decide if it is in the public's interest to see disruptions in Parliament, media houses have been granted leave to appeal.

The applicants' attorney Dario Milo says the public has an interest to see how Members of Parliament behave during official proceedings.

"It's important for democracy that voters see how their MPs are behaving and to see how the speaker manages those kinds of incidents."

Milo says this is about open democracy.

"We say that contrary to this simply being a soap opera and sensational, it lies at the heart of what it means to have an open Parliament."

Parliament's lawyers have argued that the National Assembly is not The Jerry Springer Show, questioning what they call the applicant's insatiable appetite for reality TV.