Cyril Ramaphosa: What’s wrong with wanting a patriotic media?

2014-07-24 12:52

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Calling for a patriotic media does not amount to censorship, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has said.

Replying to a question at a media briefing about threats to media freedom in the country, he said: “I wouldn’t have thought that we have got censorship creeping in.

“Of course we want a patriotic media. What is wrong with that? We don’t want a media that is disconnected [from] the concept of patriotism in South Africa. I always tell people I am South African first. Then I am everything else.

“It would be wonderful to see the media say – we are South African first. I would expect that should be the driver of everything that we do. But that does not mean that you are censured.”

He said he believed in “brave, rigorous, courageous” journalism, and this included telling government about its failures. But there was “a need for balance and fairness” to counter the “dominance of negative news” in the country.

“Whatever it is that you write, also tell us the good stories, the changes taking place in our people’s lives. Write the negative stories, but also point out the positive. Is that censorship? I don’t think so.”

Ramaphosa was speaking at a media briefing in Cape Town this morning at which a journalist raised concerns about a new trend of “censorship creep” on the media.

He addressed the media following his budget vote speech in Parliament yesterday – his first address in the National Assembly in 18 years after returning to government in May this year.

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