News24

ANC sets sights on newspapers

2010-07-30 07:55

Cape Town - The ANC is considering a total onslaught against the printed media, which it wants to rein in with legislation and investigations.

The documents for discussion at the ruling party's national executive council meeting in September have just been released. These include a document entitled "Transformation in the media, ownership and diversity".

It outlines the route the ANC wants to follow against a "neo-liberal" media which depicts the government as "weak and passive", that "over-emphasizes people's individual rights" and is "fundamentally market-driven".

The ANC states in no uncertain terms that "legislation and intervention" is needed to ensure a diverse media.

These discussion documents have emerged amidst the controversial proposed Protection of Information Act, which will allow the State to classify any information it deems sensitive and hand down heavy penalties to journalists.

According to the documents, it's the printed media in particular which is a thorn in the party's side because of reports which seldom paint the government in a positive light.

"A superficial audit of the printed media reveals an astounding degree of dishonesty, a lack of professional integrity and independence."

According to the ANC, corrupt journalists receive money to promote the agenda of certain political parties, and the "rot" is far worse than the media would like to admit.

The party takes particular exception to the fact that confidential information is leaked to the media after party meetings.

The document also states that corrections are never given sufficient prominence and that the press ombudsman (self-regulation) is ineffective.

"This situation is intolerable."

The ANC also feels it is its duty to intervene, in order to protect the media's credibility.