'New media act is censorship'

2009-10-19 22:20

Johannesburg - The degree of media freedom has improved since the advent of democracy in South Africa but a lot more still needs to be done, said Raymond Louw, deputy chair of the South Africa chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa.

He was address a commemoration of "Black Wednesday" or Media Freedom Day in Johannesburg on Monday.

Monday was the anniversary of Wednesday, October 19, 1977, the day that saw major newspapers, The World, Weekend World and the Christian publication Pro-Veritas, banned by the then apartheid government. On the same day scores of activists and journalists were detained.

"The media is much freer today compared to the apartheid days. However, there is still a lot more to be done to ensure its independence," said Louw.

Controlling the media

He said the government was introducing legislation that sought to control the media.

"I am extremely worried about these laws. I'm even more worried about more legislation being introduced," he said.

Referring to the Films and Publications Amendment Act 3 of 2009 which was recently signed into law, Louw said it brought about unpleasant working conditions, where journalists and publishers were working in fear of being jailed or incurring huge fines.

The new law states that every publication - including those on the internet - that is not a recognised newspaper, must be submitted for classification if it can possibly be construed to deal with a variety of matters listed in the legislation.

These matters include sexual conduct with violates or shows disrespect for the rights of human dignity of any person, degrades a person or constitutes incitement to cause harm or violence and advocates propaganda for war.

Unconstitutional

When the bill was introduced in 2006, the media industry protested that it paved the way for pre-publication censorship and criminalised free expression.

Louw said: "I don't think it is constitutional for publishers to have to get approval before their stories are published," said Louw, adding that the legislation was broad, complicated and confusing.

He said South Africa should guard against following in the footsteps of Zimbabwe, Botswana and other African countries which sought to control their media.

"It is not a South African or ANC thing. In developed countries president after president has tried to introduce legislation attempting to control the media," said Louw.

Journalists should fight for media freedom. "They should make a big noise about it to stop these laws, like the class of 1977 did," he said.

Worrying trend

He said it was worrying that in the past few years, of the 53 countries on the African continent, 31 had journalists detained or sentenced, or publications closed down.

Retired Judge Pius Langa refused to be drawn into the constitutionality of the Films & Publications Amendment Act.

"I can't make judgements here. It is the media's role to investigate these laws and take them to court if they are unhappy," said Langa.

Press Ombudsman Joe Thloloe said journalists today were too greedy.

"The class of 1977 was driven by a bigger cause to liberate and educate the nation. Today journalists are greedy. They worry more about their salaries and benefits, than serving the public," said Thloloe.
 

- SAPA

Read more on:    media freedom  |  constitution
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Boys, 6, die in hit-and-run

2014-04-19 22:37

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
 

'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9790

Bold Design The BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone combines the iconic BlackBerry...

From R2979.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.