1887

oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - Paul Kruger en die pers in die ZAR, 1890-1895 : geesteswetenskappe

Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1995-5928

 

Abstract

Vryheid van die pers is in die Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) se grondwet van 1858 gewaarborg. Vervolgings vir beweerde laster, ook van regeringslede, is ingevolge die gemenereg gehanteer. Die voorkoms van uiters skerp kritiek van regeringslede het aansienlik toegeneem nadat die jong Eugène N. Marais in Oktober 1890 die redakteur van die Pretoriase koerant geword het. In Mei 1893 het Marais die destydse president, Paul Kruger, daarvan beskuldig dat hy 'n onregmatige eis vir reiskoste ingedien het vir 'n amptelike reis wat hy en die staatsekretaris na en van Colesberg onderneem het. Marais is daarvan beskuldig dat hy die President belaster het, en is gearresteer en op borgtog van £50 vrygelaat. Marais het die President uitgedaag om hom die geleentheid te gee om sy getuienis voor die hof te bring. Tydens die verhoor in Oktober 1893 is Marais ten spyte van die aggressiewe aard van sy hoofberig onskuldig bevind op grond daarvan dat sy bewering van diefstal in die openbare belang gemaak was. Die hof het terselfdertyd bevind dat Kruger nie te blameer was nie, omdat hy nie van die eis bewus was nie. Marais het die hof se uitspraak as 'n oorwinning vir die vryheid van die pers beskou. Intussen is 'n konsepwet op die pers egter in Junie 1893 deur die uitvoerende raad voor die Volksraad gelê. Die menings in die Volksraadsdebat oor so 'n maatreël was wyd uiteenlopend en die strekking daarvan is na 'n komitee verwys wat in Augustus 1893 'n konsepwet voorgelê het. Die wet is goedgekeur, maar heftig deur sommige persorgane in die Republiek veroordeel. Dit was die heel eerste perswet in die ZAR en die eerste wet in Suid-Afrika wat die Vryheid van die pers ingeperk het. Die omstandighede rondom hierdie wet werp belangrike lig op Paul Kruger en die destydse regering se sienings omtrent die pers en op die universele kwessie van die vryheid van die pers.


President Paul Kruger of the South African Republic had a rather strained relationship with the press. Because his political thinking was dominated by the maintenance of the Republic's independence he regarded criticism from the press on aspects of his policy and the tenor of his administration with great suspicion. This was the case even though freedom of the press was guaranteed in the constitution of 1858. Kruger's distrust of the press was not only confined to the English-language newspapers but extended also to critical Dutch papers such as , of which the young Eugène N. Marais took over the editorship in October 1890. Kruger's poor relations with the press had, however, existed long before that. One of the reasons was the subsidisation of certain newspapers by means of advertisements for which a sum of money was included in the annual estimates of expenditure. Government advertisements were allocated to certain papers in return for their support of government policy. One of the beneficiaries of this policy of the government was and its Dutch counterpart , which had been founded in 1889 by A.H. Nellmapius with the specific aim of supporting the Kruger government. This infuriated the other Transvaal newspapers. The practice of allocating advertisements was not only fiercely criticised by other newspapers but was also denounced in the First Volksraad. Accusations of bribery and corruption were often made against the government in this regard. Fuel was added to the fire by revelations made by the first editor of in a letter published in about special favours to the paper shown by the president and his officials. Kruger and his conservative supporters in the Volksraad nevertheless vehemently defended the practice of allocating advertisements and actually used the argument that there has to be a progovernment paper to prop up his government.

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2016-01-01
2017-01-21

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