ANC clarifies reports on media having to pay to cover National Conference

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The African National Congress (ANC) has sought to clarify reports that media houses would be expected to pay for infrastructure space to cover the party’s National Conference, saying it wants journalists to pay for their own resources while reporting at the event.

It is the first time that the ANC has called for media houses to cover costs for the conference, which takes place at Nasrec, Johannesburg, in December.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe, “This is a pure misrepresentation of facts. The ANC never said that the media must pay to cover its conference. We are going to be visiting media houses to discuss the media package. If a media house, say the SABC needs additional extras, resource-wise, from that which we have provided, given our budget and other constraints, they will have to make do for themselves. We are saying that this is the space that we have provided for your outside broadcast vans, the space that we used for your different studios. Say that you come and say these are the extra things that we need, resource-wise. So, it is not even about financial contributions towards this.”

Mabe elaborates on the issue:

Possibility media might have to pay in the future

Mabe has not ruled out the possibility of media being required to pay to cover the conference in future.

“There has never been an expectation that journalists will go and pay. But, by the way, that idea, seeing that it is in the public domain, it is not necessarily a wrong idea. Maybe it will need to be introduced or phased in properly. There is nothing wrong with those who participate in the media arena, also doing this. Because the infrastructure we use doesn’t belong to the ANC, you go to Nasrec.”

Reports of payment deeply worrying

Media Monitoring Africa has described as deeply worrying, reports that media houses may be expected to pay for infrastructure space to cover the ANC’s conference, saying deals between the ruling party and journalists could be viewed as media bias.

It is the first time that the ANC has called for media houses to pay for their own resource costs while reporting at the party conference, which takes place at Nasrec.

Communications Manager at Media Monitoring Africa Nomshado Lubisi-Nkosinkulu says, “It is a deeply worrying element to suggest that the media in general should be meeting them halfway as a sort of deal. This is not a deal. It is an ANC conference, and they need the media to cover them and report on the issues in a fair, balanced and ethical manner. The moment anyone gets a suggestion that this is about the media making a deal with the ANC, what is this going to do for the perception of media bias?”

Full interview with Lubisi-Nkosinkulu on SAfm’s Sunrise below: