ANC ombudsman complaints 'baseless'

2010-09-22 16:34

Cape Town - Statistics show the ANC has no grounds to argue that self-regulation of the media has failed, the SA Institute of Race Relations said on Wednesday.

The ANC's proposal to establish a media appeals tribunal to regulate the press should therefore be seen as part of an agenda to acquire control over independent institutions, it said in a statement.

The press ombudsman had received 356 complaints in the three years from August 2007 to August 2010. Of those, 43 came from the ruling party, the government and government agencies.

"It is a small number for a party which claims to have been so hard done by in the press that a tribunal has to be set up to regulate it."

The ombudsman has so far decided on 20 of the cases, and in two thirds of those his rulings were in favour of the ANC or the government.

The rest were withdrawn, dismissed because they didn't show any contravention of the press code, or have yet to be finalised.

"What these figures reveal is that neither the ANC nor the government has much of a case against the ombudsman. Accordingly there is no basis on which the ANC can argue that self-regulation of the press does not work," the institute said.

"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."