Media gets another ally in Ramphele
Johannesburg - The media found another ally in businesswoman Mamphela Ramphele on Wednesday, who warned that statutory control of the media would not solve the government’s problems.
“Where are the business leaders to join Tokyo (Sexwale) in defending freedom of the press?” asked Ramphele at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Johannesburg.
She said the protection of information bill, which could make it difficult for journalists to get access to and publish State information in the public interest, was a “haunting” reminder of apartheid.
“The protection of information bill and the tribunal should rouse all citizens from the slumber we seem to have fallen in since 1994.”
Earlier, Sexwale, who was speaking at the same event, said it would be unconstitutional to try and “destroy” or “fight” the media.
He said “a lot of heat” had been generated around the media in the past few days, in an apparent reference to the ruling African National Congress’ proposal to set up a Media Appeals Tribunal for print media, which has been vocally supported by the ANC Youth League.
“A perception has emerged that the there is some kind of war between... the ANC and the media. … I want to state without equivocation, from where I sit, from where I stand, where I come from, such a fight should not have a basis,” said Sexwale.
“...that the media should be fought, destroyed, that would be unconstitutional. That would be running against any value that Mandela stands for, that I stand for,” he said to loud applause.
Ramphele said the quality of journalism in South Africa had declined due to a lack of investment in training and a rewards system for journalists.
“Politicians who feel under siege will attack the weaknesses in the current cadres of journalists... (but they should) not be brow-beaten into believing control over the media is the solution to the problems of our country,” she said.