Press freedom hearings to resume

2012-01-30 08:22
Johannesburg - Several political parties, including the DA and ANC, are expected to make representations to the Press Freedom Commission (PFC), when it resumes hearings this week.

Monday marks the start of the latest and final round of hearings on how best to regulate the print media. Possible models include independent regulation, co-regulation, self-regulation, and statutory regulation.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe was expected to address the commission on Tuesday, City Press reported. He would present the ANC's paper on media regulation.

The party's position was expected to reflect the ANC's 2010 discussion document on media transformation, ownership and diversity, according to City Press.

The PAC, Azapo, the Public Protector, and Human Rights Commission were expected to address the hearings, the weekly reported.

The commission had already heard from the Inkatha Freedom Party, Cosatu, the Right2Know campaign and the National Union of Mineworkers.

'Super body' to regulate press

In its submission, the IFP called for a "super body" to regulate the local press. This regulator would be independent, but funded by government, and would be able to impose penalties.

Present forms of self-regulation protected the media fraternity, it said.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions complained that print media ownership was too concentrated, with 95% of press circulation controlled by just three companies, the Daily Maverick reported.

Mark Weinburg of the Right2Know campaign argued that the imposition of fines for newspapers who reported incorrectly would limit courageous journalism, according to the online news site.

The commission was established last year by the South African National Editors' Forum and Print Media SA. Last year, members of the public and readers of newspapers, online publications, and magazines were invited to submit written views about media regulation.

The PFC is an independent body of nine commissioners from diverse sectors of society created to investigate the best possible print regulatory system suitable for South Africa, and which would be in conformity with the Constitution.

Hearings had already been held in Cape Town and Durban.

- SAPA
Read more on:    pfc  |  sanef  |  gwede mantashe  |  media
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