INTRODUCTION: The acting editor of South Africa's biggest-circulation newspaper, aimed to black readers, hit out on Tuesday (20 January) against a government order which can only mean his paper's closure.
GV EXTERIOR Post newspaper building CU Post Transvaal sign (2 shots)
GV INTERIOR newsroom. SV reporter at typewriter (2 shots)
CU Sign "Things don't turn up in this world until somebody turns them up - James Abraham Garfield."
SV INTERIOR Girl at telex. GV editorial staff at work (2 shots)
SV Newspaper truck entering Post yard
SV Sign: "POST TRANSVAAL, SUNDAY POST, SATURDAY POST. WORLD PRINTING AND PUBLISHING CO."
SV Forklift truck loading newsprint. GV PANS Typesetting machines (2 shots)
GV ZOOM IN TO CU journalist reading The Star with headline "Post silenced."
CU Kevin Hamilton asking question
SV Acting editor Joe Latakgomo replying
Hamilton asking another question
SV Latakgomo answering
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT)
SEQ. 9: HAMILTON: "Now the government don't of course, give reasons for this action. Do you have any idea what those reasons might be?"
SEQ. 10: LATAKGOMO: "No, not at all. In fact, the problem generally is that the government never tells us why they're taking particular action against us. The same happened when The World was banned, in '79. I suppose if there was really anything, any evidence that we had committed any crime, they would have taken us to court, but quick. In the absence of any such evidence, I can only assume that the government just wants us out of the way."
SEQ. 11: HAMILTON: "What do you think the reaction, the attitude of the black people, the readers of the Post and Sunday Post, is going to be?"
SEQ. 12: LATAKGOMO: "I think it really will come as a shock to a lot of black people. I think, even if I have to say so myself, we have been seen as the voice of the black people, and denying them their only voice, their only vehicle of expressing their aspirations, will certainly polarise the black/white in this country."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: The acting editor of South Africa's biggest-circulation newspaper, aimed to black readers, hit out on Tuesday (20 January) against a government order which can only mean his paper's closure. Mr. Joe Latakgomo, currently in charge of the Daily Post, added his voice to a storm of protest, some of it from the government's staunchest newspaper allies. The edict effectively silences his newspaper and its sister publication, the Sunday Post. It follows a crackdown on black journalists, and increasing pressure for official recognition from black trade unions.
SYNOPSIS: The newspapers were hit on Monday (19 January) when a joint statement from South Africa's Interior Minister and Justice Minister took away their right to publish. This was because their official registration lapsed when a strike stopped publication for a month. The Ministers said if they re-applied for registration they'd be banned.
A poster reflected the mood among newsmen. Two journalists who organised the successful strike for recognition of their black union had already been made jobless by government order.
It's not the first time a black newspaper in South Africa has lost its right to publish. In October last year, the Post's predecessors, the World and the Weekend World, were closed by the government during a clamp-down on anti-apartheid organisations.
Protests flowed in on Tuesday. South Africa's Newspaper Press Association, called for a review of official powers over the media. The International Press Institute told South African Prime Minister Pietar Botha it was shocked. Newspapers, both English and Afrikaans, condemned the government's action. Relations between the World newspaper and the government have been strained since the paper's coverage of the Soweto riots in 1976. After that disturbance, the newspaper changed its emphasis from crime and sport to black consciousness stories.
Acting Post editor Joe Latakgomo echoed the main story in stable-mate paper The Star when he spoke to VISNEWS' Kevin Hamilton.