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Access denied — Daily Maverick barred from Russia-Africa Summit after journalist accreditation revoked

Access denied — Daily Maverick barred from Russia-Africa Summit after journalist accreditation revoked
Archive photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at the first plenary session as part of the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit at the Sirius Park of Science and Art in Sochi, Russia, 24 October 2019. (Photo: EPA-EFE/Sergei Chirikov)

The publication’s accreditation to cover the Summit in St Petersburg this week, was rescinded without explanation on the eve of departure.

Russian authorities on Monday revoked Daily Maverick foreign policy specialist Peter Fabricius’ accreditation to cover the Russia-Africa Summit in St Petersburg this week. 

This was after Fabricius was previously granted accreditation to travel to Russia for the second Russia-Africa Summit on 27 and 28 July. He was informed in writing that he had received accreditation for the event on Tuesday, 18 July. 

However, on Monday, 24 July, Fabricius was informed that the Summit’s Organising Committee had cancelled his accreditation for the 2023 Summit. When Daily Maverick requested the Organising Committee reconsider the decision, it was told that “revision is not possible.”

Peter Fabricius, Russia-Africa Summit

Independent journalist and analyst on foreign policy issues, Peter Fabricius at The Gathering in Cape Town on 24 November 2022. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

No explanation was given for reversal. Fabricius, who attended the inaugural Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi in 2019, was scheduled to depart South Africa for Russia on Tuesday.

African leaders will this week travel to St Petersburg for the second Russia-Africa Summit which begins on Thursday.

On 21 June, the Presidency shared a media invitation for the summit in St Petersburg, requesting that media who wished to attend and cover the event apply for accreditation by 5 July. 

The presidency has said that Cyril Ramaphosa will be at the summit. He will be accompanied by International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor and Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.

In response to a request from Daily Maverick for comment about the revoking of Fabricius’s accreditation, Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said the Russia-Africa Summit is “not a South African government event, and all we did was to share the link that was provided to us. By doing so, we were not assuming any responsibility for the accreditation of South African journalists.”

The first Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Russia in 2019, was an attempt to strengthen relations between Russia and the continent. A second summit was expected to be held in late 2022, but was postponed due to Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

Read reports by Fabricius from the 2019 summit, in Daily Maverick’s archives:

Russia starts a new chapter in Africa

African countries rush to sign nuclear deals with Russia

Since the Sochi Summit, Russia has shifted its focus sharply towards Africa to circumvent Western isolation following its invasion of Ukraine. 

Read in Daily Maverick: Russia-Africa Summit must prioritise needs of continent while pushing for greater negotiating power

Forty-three heads of state attended the first summit. Against the backdrop of his disinvitation by Ramaphosa to attend the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, Russian president Vladimir Putin will be trying to attract even more leaders than he did to the previous summit, to demonstrate that he is not isolated and has alternative partners willing to deepen their cooperation with Moscow, Daily Maverick reported.   

According to a statement by the Presidency, the summit will focus on deepening cooperation between Russia and African states in key areas which include, among others, politics, security, trade, science and humanitarian support.

The summit backdrop will also “offer an opportunity to African heads of state who are part of the African Leaders Peace Mission to continue talks with president Putin on the confidence-building measures that will create conducive conditions for a path to peace between Russia and Ukraine,” said the statement.

The Kremlin’s decision to rescind Fabricius’ accreditation to the St Petersburg Summit this week comes hot on the heels of the African Peace Mission plane saga, where a South African flight carrying journalists and security personnel was grounded in Poland for 26 hours. Read Queenin Masuabi’s reflection here

South Africa will use the summit backdrop to further engage Russia at a bilateral level to finalise the contents and substance of the upcoming BRICS summit,” continued the statement.

Daily Maverick sent queries to the Russia-Africa Summit organisers but did not receive a response by the time of publication. DM

Daily Maverick foreign policy specialist Peter Fabricius’ accreditation for the Russia-Africa Summit in St Petersburg this week was denied by the Roscongress Foundation, the Russian government body which is organising the forum.

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Wear that barring as a badge of honor DM!

  • jcdville stormers says:

    The Anc is scared of DM,sees them as the enemy

    • Mpumi Bikitsha says:

      I thought it’s Russia that has rescinded Fabriscio’s accreditation.

      • Zamfoot 1 1 says:

        And why would russia feel the need to do so ? Curtainly not because they see DM as a threat .. the truth is not something Russia puts much value in… as is the case with the ANC. Is it such a stretch to consider that they would prefer not to be scrutinized so closely in Russia. And ask Comrade putin to make the nasty DM go away?

  • Laurence Erasmus says:

    If DM is banned from attending then any other reporting will be suspect, biased and without integrity!

  • Fritz Milosevic says:

    Outstanding support from the SA government by the looks of it. They seem to be falling over themselves to make sure that SA’s free and independent media, a cornerstone of our surviving democracy, can attend.

  • Mike Waghorn says:

    Is Fabricius denied access or DM? If only the former, can you send a replacement?

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    It goes without saying that no (real) news is good news in Putin’s Russia.

    And thinking people actually follow this guy?

  • Theart Korsten says:

    How absolutely apt. This ANC government has to go. They are limp, ineffectual and self absorbed. The more things change, the more they stay the same. What more are they hiding from us? Imagine! What an absolute embarrassment! Not that they care. We need to get these parasites out and replace them with South Africans who want to put South Africa and her citizens first. Shameful at best. Shame on you all!

  • Garth Kruger says:

    You have touched a raw nerve DM. Well done and keep up the good work.

  • bruce.rw.cameron says:

    And if Ramphosa had any guts he would refuse to attend. Rama Phia’s is just as guilty now for the thousands being killed and injured on both sides of this one dictator’s conflict.

  • Katharine Ambrose says:

    True recognition for DM and Fabicius. When the responsible press is excluded something dodgy is afoot.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    When a government is fearful of a free press then the people must fear for their freedom!

  • Jon Quirk says:

    So it confirms that which we all believe to be the case; that thinking, independently-minded, sentient and intelligent reporters will NOT be allowed, and only the toadies that follow the NDR-nonsense will be allowed to attend.

    If you don’t like the message – shoot the messenger.

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    Aluta Continua, DM! Let’s keep the struggle for freedom from the tyranny of the ANC and its paymasters in Moscow alive and kicking!

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    if Cyril had any guts together with his entourage of minions, he would boycott this Summit in protest. Press freedom is sacrosanct. sorry we are talking about Putin and Russia and his African mates! Silly me!

  • Paula Brown says:

    Take this as a compliment. Whilst not ideal from a ‘business’ perspective, it is an acknowledgment of DMs extraordinary and truthful journalism.

  • Rae Earl says:

    Ramaphosa and Pandor. This pair of useless ANC comrades are an epic recipe for failure in any situation where honesty in diplomacy and international relations is required. Russian novelist Ayn Rand had their political premises and dishonesty in mind when she penned this quote:

    “When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed”.
    Ayn Rand

  • Georg Scharf Scharf says:

    Ah, be proud. Go collect the National Order of South Africa – The golden, diamond studded Mapungubwe Order. The ANC and Russia are actually scared of a cleaver SA journalist and by this action proves every finding against them as truthful. Now keep up the momentum. Attack and go on the offensive. Irritate them until they scream at you. Show them the brown eye! Then drive them to sleeplessness and keep the pressure up. Insanity will follow them. Put billboards up so that ANC supporters can know the truth behind these shenanigans. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Let foul leaders fall on their swords in pure frustration, knowing that they are within the percentage of people that qualify as “incredibly stupid”. History will prove that the thickest Men in Power will deserve to be eventually ridiculously humiliated and eliminated, like the erstwhile Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Sadam Hussein, Herr Adolf Hitler, Julius Caesar (he did not fall on his sword, he fell to a flurry of swords deposited and immediately extracted into and out of him, about 28 times within 28 seconds).

  • Brian Doyle says:

    ANC are afraid of the truths that DM bring to the fore

  • Vincent van der Vlis says:

    And Cyril digs the hole the ANC put SA in even deeper. SA supporting Russia will not be forgotten by the West and hurt our failing economy even more. And what a wimp act to ask Uncle Putin to do your dirty work for you, nice going ANC…

  • Rory Short says:

    When the free press is uninvited from a gathering it was previously invited to attend, it is a sign that freedom is a foreign concept to the organisers of the gathering .

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