Myself and the M&G Online news editor, Matthew Burbidge, were up late lastnight awaiting the verdict from an attempted SABC interdict against a 70-page report about the SABC blacklisting saga that we published on the website. Ferial Haffajee, the editor of the newspaper, was in court with M&G’s lawyers till late Saturday night/Sunday morning and judgement was passed by the High Court in our favour at around 1am on Sunday Morning. The judge ruled that the SABC’s right to privacy (their argument) was overruled by the public’s right to know — because after all, the SABC is a public broadcaster, partly funded by you, the taxpayer.
We had only published the SABC report to the Mail & Guardian Online at around 2am on Saturday morning, after getting the 70-page document typed out for much of the Friday afternoon, after Ferial’s story about the report was published in the Mail & Guardian newspaper. The SABC, it appears, moved fast because they already had the interdict application served on M&G Online about 4-5 hours later that very Saturday morning.
I may be wrong about this, but to my knowledge this is the first time a high profile interdict as been served on a major online news website in South Africa.