Strong media 'protects the poor'

2010-09-22 17:38

kalahari.com

Cape Town - A free media serves the interests of ordinary South Africans and attempts to rein it in will put the country on a slippery slope of eroding democratic values, Media24 Holdings and Welcome Yizani chairperson Jakes Gerwel warned on Wednesday.

He said the protection of information bill, which would impose prison sentences of up to 25 years for publishing classified information, and the ANC's proposed media appeals tribunal posed a threat in this direction.

"I can understand if the general populace turns out to be quite indifferent to the threats posed by these proposed measures. Poverty and unemployment are more pressing issues to the majority of the population than threats to freedom of expression," Gerwel told Media24's annual general meeting.

"Freedom of expression and free media are, however, not luxuries that can be disposed of. It is exactly the poor, the marginalised and the vulnerable that are ultimately protected against the excesses of and exploitation by the powerful, through a robust and an unfettered media," said Gerwel.

"We may acquiesce in these first attempts at limiting freedom, because we think we understand what 'the movement' is trying to achieve. The erosion of freedom is, however, an irreversible process. What comes next, and next, and next? And where do we land up in the end?"

Control

Gerwel said the debate on the bill and the ANC's call for greater regulation might have prompted the press to question whether self-regulation was effective.

"Of course, the media has to get its house in better order. We do have measures for self-regulation and recourse. What the current debate may have done is to have us re-examine the efficacy of those measures," he said.

Earlier this week, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils reiterated a plea to government to withdraw the bill, saying it was "a danger and distinct threat to democracy".

"Unfortunately, ANC ministers who have appeared to be embarrassed in the media seem to feel that they need to control the press," he told the Cape Town Press Club.

The SA Institute for Race Relations on Wednesday said complaints by government and the ANC that self-regulation had failed were baseless.

Statistics showed that of 356 complaints received by the press ombudsman in three years, only 43 were from the ruling party or government, and in most of those he ruled in their favour.

"In light of this data, the only conclusion to draw on the envisaged media tribunal is that it is part of a wider agenda of extending political control over independent institutions in South Africa," the SAIRR said.
- SAPA
Read more on:    anc  |  media
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Montague Gardens 18:07 PM
Road name: Montague Drive

ROADWORKS - lane closures both directions for BRT lane construction - expect delays

Kuils River 18:05 PM
Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound

ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - expect delays

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Social media is pulling you in and you have the desire to find out everything you know about your friends and you have the urge 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.