Mthembu: ANC rallies behind media freedom, defends rights of journalists

Jackson Mthembu says the ANC fought for media freedom and it will continue to do so.

FILE: Former ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu at a communications briefing at the ANC national policy conference on 5 July 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu says the party will be the last organisation to rally against media freedom.

Mthembu says the commission on communications has condemned the threats made against journalists by Black First Land First (BLF).

He says the ANC respects the media and will defend the rights of journalists.

Mthembu says the party fought for media freedom and it will continue to do so.

“That’s why the BLFs of this world do not belong to the ANC stable. They will never be. You can’t be threatening journalists. If you have got a different view from what they are writing, of course, there is something the media space that is called a right to reply.”

At the same time, Mthembu says delegates have given suggestions about how the print media should be held accountable.

He says they will ask Parliament to decide if there is another mechanism that should be put in place other than self-regulation, but this doesn't mean they are against media freedom.

Two more briefings were expected to take place before President Jacob Zuma delivered his closing address at the policy conference.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)