IFP seeks 'super' press regulator

2012-01-23 19:11
Durban - The IFP has called for the creation of a "super body" to regulate the press in South Africa.

There were shortcomings in the current system of self-regulation and the current press ombudsman needed to be transformed into a "super body", Inkatha Freedom Party deputy national spokesperson Joshua Mazibuko said on Monday.

He was addressing a Press Freedom Commission hearing in Durban on the regulation of the print media, headed by retired judge president Pius Langa.

Mazibuko said this body would be assisted by an advisory board which would involve the government, civil society groups, political parties, academics, and citizens.

"It must be made up of an equal number of representatives of each of the groups. Such a super-regulatory body must have powers to impose penalties."

Media fraternity protected

The IFP wanted the body to be funded by the government. Mazibuko said he did not believe this would compromise the body’s independence. He said the judiciary was funded by the government and executed its duties without fear or favour.

The IFP felt the present forms of self-regulation protected the media fraternity.

Mazibuko proposed that the press code allow members of the public a right to reply in response to the publication of offensive material, if it was reasonable and fair to do so.

"The length of this reply shall be reasonable and fair."

Hailey Fudu, a teacher, said sensationalism in the press had to be dealt with, and that newspapers were full of disturbing images.

"I don’t leave newspapers in front of my children because they are full of violent images. I think this should be regulated."

Newspapers were rife with bad news, such as rape and corruption, and "negativity and positivity" had to be balanced.

The Press Freedom Commission’s head of secretariat Mathatha Tsedu, said the last hearings would be held in Johannesburg next week. The commission would compile its report in March.

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