My basic rights no threat to media freedom - Mac Maharaj

Presidential spokesperson says M&G wanted to publish unlawfully obtained documents

Press Release by Mac Maharaj in relation to Mail & Guardian Online report dated 17 November 2011 (see here).

Mail & Guardian seeks to hide its complicity in criminal act/s by raising the spectre of a threat to media freedom and invoking fears of censorship.

This afternoon through my attorneys we drew their attention that they were on record admitting that they were in possession of documents that they could not have obtained lawfully. Their attention was drawn to the National Prosecuting Act and that they were in blatant and wilful contravention of provisions of that Act.

In the name of press freedom the M&G arrogates to itself the "right" to break the law that has been on our statute books since 1998. Their editor Nic Dawes acknowledges as much when he states that they will now seek the permission of the National Director of Public Prosecution, Adv Menzi Simelane, for "permission to disclose the relevant material". In short they want the NDPP to retrospectively give them legal protection against their unlawful actions.

Through their sensational and at times distorted reportage they want deflect attention from their wrong doing and depict my upholding of my rights embodied in our laws as a threat to media freedom.

Statement issued by Mac Maharaj, November 17 2011

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