Business Day (Johannesburg)

26 July 2010

South Africa: Editors Rebuff Media Tribunal Idea

Photo: AllAfrica
Members of the international and local press corps waited to record President Yar'Adua's first state visit to South Africa. In the background is a statue of Louis Botha, Afrikaner fighter against British colonialism, on horseback.

Johannesburg — SOUTH African editors yesterday vowed to resist attempts to institute a state-appointed media tribunal and rejected legislation that they said restricted public access to information.

The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) said yesterday that there was an existing system of media self-regulation, involving the Press Council and Press Ombudsman. It vowed to campaign for public support for media freedom, and urged a "zero-tolerance" approach to press code violations.

Addressing editors on Saturday, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said that in exercising the right to free expression, there was a duty to guard against "furtherance of propaganda for war and incitement of imminent violence, to name just a few examples".

Mr Radebe's remarks were seen as alluding to a media tribunal, first proposed at the ANC's Polokwane conference in 2007. But he said the media would not be treated as the apartheid regime treated black journalists, and invited the media to participate in drafting legislation.

Mr Radebe said proposals on policy issues -- including section 205 of the Criminal Procedures Act, which can compel journalists to reveal confidential sources -- would be released this week. The African National Congress is expected to consider proposals for a tribunal in September.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2010 Business Day. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.