Parliament yesterday said it “noted” a Supreme Court of Appeal judgement declaring the jamming of cellphone signals and Parliament’s broadcasting policy unconstitutional.
“Parliament will now study the judgement,” the legislature said in a short statement.
The ruling by the SCA follows an appeal by the SA National Editor’s Forum (Sanef) and Primedia Broadcasting of a Western Cape High Court ruling in May this year regarding the use of a signal jamming device during last year’s state-of-the-nation address as well as the cutting of the broadcast feed which led to the public not being able to see the chaotic scenes which unfolded during President Jacob Zuma’s speech.
The majority high court judgement held that cutting off the feed did not amount to censorship as the legislature had the right to protect its dignity, handing a legal blow to media houses who went to court after Parliament trained its cameras on the presiding officers while cops dragged Economic Freedom Fighters MPs from the chamber on February 12.
The court also ruled that Parliament could not be held responsible for the jamming of the cellphone signal in the House on the same day, ahead of the state of the nation address.
The Supreme Court of appeal unanimously overturned the high court judgement.
Sanef deputy chairwoman Katy Katapodis welcomed the judgement saying it was “a victory for media freedom”.