27 May 2016.
South Africa has no objection to CPJ being granted observer status by ECOSOC.
In accordance with our Constitution, laws and policies, South Africa supports freedom of expression and the role that Journalists play in democracy and free societies. Journalists play a key role in the consolidation of democracy, transparency and good governance. We have taken note of the application of the Committee on Protection of Journalists for consultative status at the United Nations through the ECOSOC NGO Committee. Due to the obsolete and archaic rules of the NGO Committee that have not been revised in a long time, it is regrettable that Member States took a long time to finalise the processing of the application by the CPJ. This led to a frustration by some Member States who called for a vote before some procedural questions could be answered by the CPJ. It therefore became a complicated matter for members of the NGO Committee whether, procedurally, a vote could be taken before all questions have been disposed with.
As a matter of principle, South Africa has no objection to CPJ being granted an observer status by ECOSOC given the outstanding and sterling work undertaken by the CPJ in the area of promotion and protection of journalists across the globe. We regret the misunderstanding and the wrong message that the lack of explanation of our vote in the NGO Committee could have portrayed. South Africa will during the main session of ECOSOC support the application by CPJ with a yes vote and appeal to all ECOSOC Members to do the same. South Africa will immediately work with our partners to initiate a process to revise the rules and procedures governing the admission of NGOs.
For more information: Nelson Kgwete on 076 431 3078.
Issued by DIRCO