ANC delegates agree on tribunal
Pieter du Toit, Beeld
Cape Town - It seems increasingly likely that Parliament will be requested to launch an investigation into the proposed Media Appeals Tribunal.
ANC delegates at the party's national general council (NGC) on Wednesday had a "robust" debate about the media, but agreed on the necessity for regulation of the media.
Lindiwe Zulu, who reported to the NGC on behalf of the media and communication commission, told reporters that the biggest part of the debate was not about the media tribunal, but on why the Polokwane recommendations were not followed.
"Delegates wanted to know why this recommendation (which requested an investigation into a media tribunal) had not yet been actioned."
"Ways were discussed to ensure it would be done."
Another senior delegate said there was no doubt that such a body would be appointed. "Look, there are too many newspapers which report inaccurately and hurt ordinary people. It can't go on like this."
According to this delegate, there is general unity among alliance partners about how such a body would work. She did, however, not want to give details about whether the body would answer to Parliament.
"It happens very rarely that the alliance reverses a decision that has already been made. Delegates did want to know, however, how it would affect journalism as well as whistle-blowers. They also want to investigate ways to protect sources so that information (for journalists) could still be obtained."
According to Sapa, the ANC wants an independent statutory body accountable to Parliament to deal with complaints against newspapers, instead of only using the self-regulatory system of the Press Ombudsman, who currently deals with complaints.
The 2007 document on the party's resolutions states: "Conference adopts the recommendation of the policy conference that the establishment of a MAT [Media Appeals Tribunal] be investigated...
"Conference notes that the creation of a MAT would strengthen, complement and support the current self-regulatory institutions (Press Ombudsman/Press Council) in the public interest."