New media centre at Gauteng Provincial Legislature

Gauteng Provincial Legislature speaker Ntombi Mekgwe, cut the ribbon of the new GPL Media Centre with Director of the South African National Editors' Forum Mathatha Tsedu.

Mekgwe said the new centre was for its media partners, and the media community at large, to ensure a better working environment when covering onsite Legislature programmes.

She said, “As promised in our meetings with various media houses and my visit to various newsrooms to [build] sound relations between us and the media, today is the practical fulfilment of that promise.”

Mekgwe stated that the centre was established to provide resources to ensure reporters are able to interact freely with provincial government leadership and members of the provincial legislature.

Some facilities at the newly launched Gauteng Provincial Legislature media c entre.

Some facilities at the newly launched Gauteng Provincial Legislature media c entre.

“It’s envisaged that it will ensure provincial government’s accessibility [to] the media… will maintain good relations between the two parties and that it will provide a platform for the reporters to work with ease,” she said.

The media centre is fitted with equipment that will enable journalists to write and file their stories on committee meetings and house sittings in real time. It will also provide a platform to conduct interviews with members of the provincial legislature in a more co-ordinated and structured manner. It is located on the second floor of the legislature at the corner of President and City Hall streets (formerly Loveday).

In February, the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) condemned the barring of journalists from the media gallery ahead of the delivery of the State of the Province Address by Gauteng Premier David Makhura. Journalists were accommodated in a committee room equipped with a TV screen where they could watch his address. At the time, Sanef stated that the microphones of certain MPLs were switched off when they rose on points of order and journalists couldn’t hear what was said.

However, after this incident, the provincial government promised to establish a media centre. The centre has eight computers, a TV screen, desks, chairs and free telephone use for journalists. But Mekgwe appealed to journalists to not abuse the system. “The phones are for journalists to call their offices or make work-related calls and are not for them to call family and friends,” Mekgwe said.

Aphiwe Boyce
Metro Reporter

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