Mthembu explains why media classified an essential service

The Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said that in moments of crisis, journalism that informed and empowered was an important national asset and necessity.

FILE: Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN – Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu has clarified the need to classify the media as an essential service during the 21-day lockdown.

Mthembu said the government appreciated the role the media, in the country and internationally, played in informing citizens about the coronavirus pandemic.

Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams made it clear Wednesday’s government briefing the media is an essential service during this time, but media workers need accreditation.

"On media being the essential services; how are people going to know that these are the people that are offering essential services? Of course the form of identification that is expected will be ID."

Mthembu said given that media workers were citizens first and foremost, government urged employers to ensure journalists had access to protective supplies and equipment to keep them safe.

He said letters from employers vouching for staff members would also make it easier for law enforcement officers to process media to access story locations.

The Minister in the Presidency said that in moments of crisis, journalism that informed and empowered was an important national asset and necessity.