Media must partner with govt - Zuma

2015-10-18 16:51


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Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma on Sunday called on the media to partner with government in putting the needs of the country first, SABC news reported.

"We look forward to working with you to move our country forward to unity, to success, and to prosperity," Zuma told a gathering of editors and jounralists in Pretoria on the eve of National Press Freedom Day.

"It is a long journey that needs all of us to participate and coordinate, no matter what different views at times we might have --  but South Africa must come first."

Zuma’s remarks were captured on a video clip published on the news station’s website.

National Press Freedom Day commemorates the events of October 19, 1977, when apartheid authorities jailed a number of reporters.

However, Zuma said the new government was different and that the media needed to send out this message: "What we did not do and I think the media did not do it... was to say that this government was elected to all the people in the country... and therefore it is a government that we have to deal with differently."

He said he believed a key societal problem was that when South Africans were unhappy with authority, they turned to violence.  The onus was on the media to play its part in changing this idea, said Zuma.

"The media is among the many stakeholders who are better positioned to participate in that process of re-orientating our psychological approach to authority as a society."

The relationship between the government and the media has not been without its tensions.

Earlier this month, News24 reported that the party was pushing ahead with its idea of a media appeals tribunal, calling for the parliamentary inquiry into the matter to be sped up.

"The feeling is... the ANC as a liberation movement, and as a ruling party, is being relegated either to the back pages or, if anything, a lot of what is reported is something which is only on the side of the negative," communications subcommittee member Lindiwe Zulu said following the party’s National General Council (NGC).

The ruling party first raised the idea in 2007 about a state-controlled media tribunal that would be used to monitor the media and handle complaints against it. At the moment, a press ombudsman fulfils this role.

In April this year, City Press reported that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi said that that the media industry needed a "more balanced and acceptable regime".

In November 2010, Sapa reported that Gwede Mantashe had defended the idea of the tribunal, by saying that it would allow for the "equalising [of] the rights of citizens".

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  media

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