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Press code: No influence from ANC

2011-10-11 22:48

Cape Town - The press ombudsman's office has sought to allay perceptions that the ANC influenced amendments to the press code governing print media.

Ombudsman Joe Thloloe and his deputy Johan Retief moved to clarify the matter in a joint statement on Tuesday.

This followed media reports that Retief conceded - at a press conference on Monday to introduce the Press Council's new code - that the changes were "influenced" by the ANC's calls for a media appeals tribunal (MAT).

The ombudsman's office accepted that this statement might be as a result of a misunderstanding, they said.

However, they needed to clarify that it was incorrect, misleading, and damaging to the credibility of the new code, to the Press Council's whole review process, and indeed to the system of self-regulation.

"The Press Council, who is the custodian of the press code, lives and dies by its independence from forces outside the press industry."

From the start of the review in August 2010, the council had made it clear that it was going to be led, as a matter of principle, by, among others, the question of what was good for journalism.

It had specifically and repeatedly said it was not going to do anything to appease anybody, including the ANC.

At Monday's conference, a journalist asked if the council believed that the new code would make the ANC happy.

In reply, both Retief and Thloloe specifically repeated this principle.

Earlier in the conference, Retief explained that the council's review was a normal process that it undertook every five years.

He said the ANC's call for an MAT served to speed up this review, saying: "The ANC's MAT influenced us to do our work properly and with care".

He was on record as saying many times that the calls for an MAT had "kick-started the Press Council into action".

"This is a far cry from being 'influenced' by the ANC 'to change' the code. The office of the press ombudsman states categorically that not a single change to the code was influenced by the ANC," they said.

Comments
  • Neil Lazarus - 2011-10-12 01:13

    I have to differ . No one trusts the ANC nor the bodies they have influence over which is everything it seems . The judiciary , the police , the military , and now the press . The new close relationship with China , and the fact they have stated they need to study how the BRIC countries run their countries , they are clearly going to take their lead from China & Russia . Its Africa after all .

      rams - 2011-10-12 07:29

      There is no such a thing as ANC did not influence the ammendments of the press code. ANC,s submissions were done long ago to the ombudsman to peruse and to see if their intentions are line with MAT.Word were twisted and turned and paragraphs were rephrased and now i can openly say that Media Appeal Tribunal and the information bill are going to be in place to protect them.ANC's corruption spree can now continue with being hindered. A tender like the one for R1.9 billion awarded to Mantu Tshabala Msimang's daughter's for SARs system without tender processes being followed can not be challenged.This is just tip of the iceberg and the media is in position of this evidence and they are trying to silince the media.Gwen Mahlangu Nkabinde is aware of this tender and so is the Pulic Protecter who is also no longer serving the interest of the nation and now seem as if she received something from the ANC not to act against them.I do not trust her anymore.

      GuyverXT9 - 2011-10-12 09:13

      We'll stop them. They work for us after all.

  • Craig Louw - 2011-10-12 05:24

    I think the that there should be an investigation into potential bribery within the institution of the press ombudsman i.e. If any of the top knobs received bonuses recently. Also the independence of the facility. It seems the anc wants to shut the media up. Constitution or not, to hell with it we'll get our way.

  • Yar - 2011-10-12 06:08

    The entire bill should be scrapped. We already have enough laws to deal with any problems of mis-reporting. This bill is anti-democratic and in conflict with our constitution.

  • daaivark - 2011-10-12 07:13

    Semantics, Messrs Retief and Thloloe, mere semantics. It is patently obvious that although there may well have been no direct influence (no threats or bribes) the eagerness NOT TO DISPLEASE the ANC shone through very clearly in your press conference.

  • Boerseun - 2011-10-12 07:22

    Not for one moment will I believe this spin. The news media is just repsonding to threats from the ruling party, in effect towing their line, or go under is what they do. In poliitcs, nothing happens without it meant to happen or it being forced to happen.

  • Analyst - 2011-10-12 08:00

    It is a fact the ANC influences many (all?) so called "independent" organizations. No reason why this organization isn't.

  • letsee - 2011-10-12 09:27

    If the ANC settles for this code instead of the info bill then we are well.

  • rickvcooper - 2011-10-12 10:10

    If you are a deployed cadre, you are an extension of the ANC. I don't believe the press ombudsman is in that position without the ANC's approval.

  • Gary Jurgens - 2011-10-12 10:18

    Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth, and Vladimir Putin all die and go to hell. While there, they spy a red phone and ask what the phone is for. The devil tells them it is for calling home back on Earth. Putin asks to call Russia and talks for 5 minutes. When he was finished the devil informs him that the cost is a million dollars, so Putin writes him a cheque. Next Queen Elizabeth calls England and talks for 30 minutes. When she was finished the devil informs her that cost is 6 million dollars, so Queen Elizabeth writes him a cheque. Finally Nelson Mandela gets his turn and talks for 4 hours. When he was finished the devil informed him that there would be no charge for the call and feel free to call South Africa anytime. When Putin hears this he goes ballistic and asks the devil why Nelson Mandela got to call South Africa free. The devil replied, "Since Jacob Zuma became president of South Africa , the country has gone to hell, so it's a local call

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