S Africa: ANC says it wants independent regulation of the media

Mail and Guardian

The ANC still believes “independent regulation” is the way to go when it comes to the continuing debate over press regulation, arguing that self-regulatory efforts are undermined by vested interests.

The arrival of the ANC delegation at the Press Freedom Commission in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on Tuesday morning stirred the proceedings to life.

Gwede Mantashe

Even the man in the straw hat woke up. On Monday he had slipped in and out of consciousness as the heat and droning voices took their toll. But on Tuesday, he was alert. Around him more people leaned forward to hear what Gwede Mantashe, Jessie Duarte and Jackson Mthembu would say.

Mantashe, the secretary general of the ANC, welcomed the “opportunity to speak for ourselves rather than through those who have strong feelings”. But while he proved to be the pulling point for the gathered photographers and camera crews, it was Duarte who did most of the talking.

Outlining the problems the ANC had with the current system of media self-regulation, she said it has led to “a lack of accountability from the media”. She criticised the lack of power the ombud has to deter offenders and also the fact that the Press Council is funded by the media. The waiver — which stops people taking their case to an outside arbitrary body while they are using the Press Council — is “really anti-constitutional,” she said.  Read more…

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