‘Media has the responsibility to respect the rule of law’

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Legal experts say the media has the responsibility to respect the rule of law and not jeopardize due process.

They were reacting to the chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, Deputy Chief Justice Ray Zondo’s fierce criticism of the media earlier this week for leaking the affidavit of former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi before he presented his testimony to the Commission.

Last weekend, several newspapers published reports on Agrizzi’s affidavit that implicated people such as former President Jacob Zuma and Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane in Bosasa’s alleged corrupt dealings and bribery of high-ranking government officials.

Cherese Thakur, a lawyer at the Helen Suzman Foundation with experience in Media Law says, “The law exists to regulate behaviour and here, you’re not just dealing with something where it’s an individual in an very discreet circumstance. This is a Commission of Inquiry that could determine the fate of this nation. So, there’s huge public importance and a lot of importance given to the actual smooth and efficient and proper running of this Commission and so, anything that jeopardises that, you have to take very seriously.”