R2K plans to picket outside Labour Court over press freedom

The dispute involves the axing of Cape Times editor Alide Dasnois in December 2013.

FILE: Right to Know Campaign protesters. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Right to Know (R2K) campaign plans on demonstrating outside the Cape Town Labour Court today during what it describes as a "landmark press freedom case".

The dispute involves axed Cape Times Editor Alide Dasnois and Iqbal Survè, executive chairman of the Independent Media Group.

Her dismissal ostensibly centered around the death of Nelson Mandela in December 2013.

The day after Mandela died, the paper published a front page story about the Public Protector's findings that a company owned by Survè had benefited from an irregular Fisheries Department tender.

Madiba's death was covered in a wraparound editorial supplement, a move Dasnois's bosses were not happy with.

R2K spokesperson Micah Reddy says this matter shows what can happen when bosses interfere in editorial independence.

"We're trying to underscore the problems when management interferes in editorial running of the newspaper or news outlet, and this case is a landmark in that sense."

The R2K campaign says the case also raises critical issues about the lack of transformation in the South African media that remains dominated by four large corporations.

"With control of over 80 percent of all print circulation, these corporations pose a significant threat to press freedom, irrespective of their racial composition or party political affiliation" R2K warns.