On Sunday it came to light that five of the country’s top cricket scribes had their accreditation revoked because the sport’s governing body in South Africa was unhappy with the reporting by these individuals.
It is just the latest of a long list of scandals to rock CSA in recent times.
Stuart Hess, Firdose Moonda, Telford Vice, Ken Borland and Neil Manthorp are five of the most respected cricket writers in the country, and have been very vocal on the CSA’s inability to appoint a full time Director of Cricket, as well as, board of selectors ahead of the incoming Test series between the Proteas and England.
With less than a month before the series is due to start there are still no answers as to who will coach the team, or who will select the squad.
While the CEO of CSA, Thabang Moroe, has admitted to revoking the accreditation of the above-mentioned journalist, the Head of Communications, Thamie Mthembu, has strongly denied the allegations.
There is however proof that Mthembu has not been honest on several occasions. The very same Mthembu was also recently quoted as saying “Nobody cares about who selects the team”.
To OFM Sport’s understanding, the five journalist’s respective accreditation was apparently reinstated yesterday afternoon. Mthembu himself asked one of them how they knew their accreditation has been canceled, yet this was revealed then the accreditation was scanned at the various stadiums where they were to cover MSL T20 games.
Early on Sunday morning, a list has been circulated within CSA and the stadium indicating they we know allowed entrance into the stadium.
In a statement, SANEF condemned the intimidation of journalists and demanded an apology by CSA.
“SANEF believes CSA’s actions will have a chilling effect on the media’s ability to cover all aspects of cricket, not just what happens on the field of play, but also what happens behind closed doors where the sport is administered. CSA’s actions smack of bullying, are unacceptable and must be fiercely resisted in order to preserve the independence of the media and journalists’ ability to report without fear or favour.
“On Sunday five journalists were informed that they were on a list circulated to all stadiums in the country, including Newlands in Cape Town and the Wanderers in Johannesburg, and that they would not be granted access to report on the Mzansi Super League.
“Those five reporters are Stuart Hess (The Star), Ken Borland (The Citizen), Neil Manthorp (SABC), Firdose Moonda (ESPN Cricinfo) and Telford Vice (Cricbuzz.com).
“Their accreditation was seemingly reinstated during the course of Sunday and some met with CSA officials at Newlands.
“On Monday, Thabang Moroe, CSA’s chief executive, admitted on Talk Radio 702 that the journalists’ accreditation was revoked because the organisation was unhappy about their reporting on CSA and the sport.
“Moroe’s statements are deeply concerning. Journalists must be allowed to do their job of holding those in power accountable without fear of intimidation or that they will be prevented from doing their job. Moroe and CSA have a duty to respect the independence of journalists without resorting to bully tactics. This is bound to have the opposite effect of what CSA and Moroe would want to achieve.
“CSA, and sports bodies as well as sponsors in general, should refrain from trying to influence coverage through intimidation tactics. Accreditation should also not be unilaterally withdrawn without proper and transparent consultation with news organisations. SANEF encourages robust and thorough news coverage of sport, including the administration of cricket and other sports.
“The way CSA has managed its conflict with the media is also concerning considering that South Africa will be hosting England for a much-anticipated Test series in less than a month. The media will not relent in exposing the failings of cricket administrators in preparation for what should be a major sporting event.
“SANEF calls on CSA to apologise to the journalists involved, to ensure that they have access to stadiums and to respect the independence of the media. We will closely monitor the situation and won’t hesitate to take further steps.”
@MorganPiek OFM Sport