Women Minister Bathabile Dlamini will investigate allegations that her office, at her request, barred eNCA from covering the launch of the 16 Days of Activism against gender based violence campaign in Melmoth on Sunday.
In a statement issued on Monday, Dlamini said due to time limits on the day of the launch, government and journalists agreed that she would be interviewed by the SABC, while KZN Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi would speak with eNCA.
The event was held in KwaMagwaza in Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal, and attended by members of the public, community leaders, survivors of violence and activists.
eNCA on Sunday claimed to have been asked to leave the venue by the Minister’s chief of staff, saying this had allegedly been at Dlamini’s request.
The Ministry in the statement denied this, saying the Minister “did not ask any reporter to leave the event or ban any reporter from attending the event”.
“Following the conclusion of the interviews, the Minister was not part of any further engagements with journalists from either the eNCA or the SABC.
“The Minister has come to learn of allegations that there was an exchange between officials from her office and ENCA reporters. A claim is being made by the eNCA that an official of the Ministry asked them to leave.”
The Minister has instituted a process to establish the facts of what transpired.
“The Minister wishes to clearly state that she will never instruct any reporter or journalist to leave any venue, especially when it is an event of government. The portfolio the Minister is responsible for relies mainly on various media platforms to communicate and convey its key messages to the public,” the ministry said.
Dlamini in the statement thanked journalists who attended the event.
“The primary task of the Department of Women is to transform attitudes, views and repressive aspects of cultures. This requires that we develop and communicate messages that will bring about social behavioural change. For this, the media is a central partner, as we cannot reach the more than 55 million South African citizens alone,” she said.
The ministry said it works without prejudice and bias in its attempt to transform attitudes and fight gender based violence. – SAnews.gov.za