Media tribunal quotes

2010-07-30 14:02

The ruling ANC this week released a 20-page discussion document on

the establishment of a print media appeals tribunal.

Here are some quotes

extracted from the document: “While there had been much progress in engagement with the media,

much still needs to be done as some fractions of the media continue to adopt an

anti-transformation, anti-development and anti-ANC stance.”

“The ANC has always fought for media freedom which it believes is a

cornerstone for any democracy to flourish.

All of us have a responsibility to

defend media freedom and editorial independence from any form of compulsion, be

it political, economic or commercial.”

“However, independence from such pressures does not presume that

journalists are unique human beings with unique journalistic genes and


They are impacted upon by the environment within which they operate,

by the circumstances that spawn them.”

“It would be to relegate the media to a status of social

irrelevance to demand that journalists should have absolute freedom only the

inconsequential in social processes have a semblance of absolute freedom.


as an institution is not a victim waiting to be abused.

It is a repository of

immense ideological, economic, social and political power.”

“As South Africans we know the full meaning of unregulated power.

The abuse of positions of power, authority and public trust to promote narrow,

selfish interests and political agendas inimical to our democracy.

This points

to the fact that the problem of what is called ‘brown envelope’ journalism.


type of rot is a much more serious problem than the media is willing to


“Freedom of expression needs to be defended but freedom of

expression can also be a refuge for journalist scoundrels, to hide mediocrity

and glorify truly unprofessional conduct.”

“There can be no real media freedom under conditions of unique

manifestations of censorship: self-censorship and ‘peer censorship’.

This is the

tendency among journalists themselves to seek to dictate to others how they

should cover issues.

In the recent past, anyone who dared to acknowledge

progress in service delivery and government performance was condemned by peers

as a lapdog.”

“Media cannot demand respect if it fails to assume its

responsibility as a public utility in the popular search for a better life.


does not require ‘sunshine journalism’.

It needs media to critique public

policies and their implementation, but do so in a manner that adds value to the

national endeavour and reflect on the broader questions about how our souls are

being poisoned by the spirit of conspicuous consumption in a socio-economic

formation that encourages greed.”

“There is no other option – the media has to be accountable.”

“The mere fact that the press ombudsman is from the media ranks, a

former journalist, and is not an independent person who looks at the media from

the layman’s perspective, poses an inherent bias towards the media with all

interpretations favourable to the institution and the other party just have to

understand and accept the media way, which is grossly unfair and unjust.”

“On reading and interpreting the Polokwane Resolutions, the media

has not been lacking in bravery behind the armour of collective self-defence.

Its reaction has shown hypersensitivity to criticism and misses the point that

people need recourse when media freedom trampled their rights to dignity and


“Instead of the ANC with all its bias and firm views, we believe

that Parliament should be the one charged with this mandate in order to

guarantee the principles of independence, transparency, accountability and


This process should be initiated and driven by the democratic

parliament through a public hearing process.”

“Parliament should also investigate the ownership and control of

print media in South Africa, challenges thereof and what needs to be done to

change the tide.”

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