JOHANNESBURG – Panellists at a media-freedom indaba unanimously rejected the idea of statutory media regulation put forward by the ANC at its Polokwane conference in December last year.
Panellists Jane Duncan of the Freedom of Expression Institute, Jack Bloom of the Democratic Alliance, deputy managing editor of The Sunday Times Susan Smuts and constitutional lawyer Dario Milo all said they found no compelling reasons why the state should regulate Press freedom more than it already was regulated by the constitution.
Minister of Arts and Culture, Pallo Jordan who had been invited to the dialogue, was not present to represent the ANC.
Former editor of the defunct Rand Daily Mail and chair of South African National Editors’ Forum media freedom sub-committee, Raymond Louw, said the ANC proposal was a bid to control the media and flow of information.
Louw questioned why there should be any regulation at all saying journalists should be “subject to the laws of the land like all South Africans”.
“The ANC’s reasons for this proposal are so that they can protect their own,” said Louw.
He agreed with Duncan that there could be room for a civil society institution much like the Media Monitoring Project, which would bring complaints before the Press Ombudsman and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission.
Duncan said the ANC was doing a great disservice to its media resolutions, most of which were sound, by pushing forward one which would meet with the most resistance.
Source: The Citizen
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