CAPE TOWN– Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu today had to clarify the need for media to be classified as an essential service during the national lockdown.
He said the government appreciated the role played by media in informing citizens about the coronavirus pandemic.
Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams clarified that government briefing the media on Wednesday was an essential service during this time, but insisted that media workers need accreditation.
“On media being the essential service; how are people going to know that these are people offering essential services? Of course the form of identity that is expected will be ID.”
Mthembu urged employers to ensure journalists had access to protective supplies and equipment to keep them safe. He added that journalists would need letter from employers vouching for their staff members to make it easier for law enforcement officers to process media to access story locations.
Mthembu added that in times of crisis, journalism that informed and empowered was an essential national asset and necessity.