ANC's position on media appeals tribunal hasn't changed - Mthembu

2017-07-05 18:49
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu. (Conrad Bornman, Gallo Images, Rapport)

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu. (Conrad Bornman, Gallo Images, Rapport)

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We will defend the media - Mthembu

2017-07-05 15:51

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu says even though the ANC might not always agree with what the media publishes, they will defend media rights. Watch. WATCH

Johannesburg - The African National Congress says it will defend media freedom, but it has again called for Parliament to accelerate the implementation of a resolution for the establishment of a media appeals tribunal.

"We have not changed: We will put our view on how we can put print media accountable. Is it adverse for us to think of a body that looks at accountability of the media appointed in Parliament?" chairperson of the Communication and the Battle of Ideas Commission Jackson Mthembu said.

He was speaking at the ANC's policy conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre, south of Johannesburg, on Wednesday.

He presented the ANC's proposal, which he said would be sent back to branches for deliberation, before heading to the national elective conference in December.

Mthembu said the ANC had fought for media freedom, reassuring journalists that the party would fight to protect journalists from intimidation.

WATCH: We will defend the media - Mthembu

'Defend your right'

He was reacting to Black First Land First (BLF) supporters who protested outside Tiso Blackstar editor-at-large Peter Bruce's home on Thursday morning, June 29. The organisation on Friday released a list of journalists they were going to target.

"BLF is not our organisation. We can't speak on their behalf, but one thing that we will not agree with them is to go to any South African's house and threaten them, even if that South African is a journalist.

"We have many stories that we don't agree with, but rest assured we will defend your right to write these stories as the ANC."

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This is in stark contrast to a previous statement, for which he apologised.

Mthembu had called for South Africans to boycott City Press newspaper after it published a controversial painting of President Jacob Zuma with his privates hanging out in 2012.

During his briefing, Mthembu said, should the party disagree with media articles, it could write to the press ombudsman. He emphasised the role Parliament needed to play to regulate print media.

"If the effectiveness of the ombudsman and the press council is called into question, we will say: 'Can't we take this to Parliament and discuss this?'"

'ANC still fiddles'

Journalists wore black headbands on the last day of policy conference in protest over a series of threats and intimidation against journalists.

The South African National Editors Forum media freedom chair Sam Mkokeli called on South Africans to rise up and stand up for media freedom.

He said the BLF's threats against white journalists were an attempt to racially drive a wedge between journalists, in order to cover up shocking events around state capture.

Mkokeli welcomed statements by the ANC that it would defend journalists, but added that action must be taken against perpetrators.

He raised concerns over the ANC's stance on the media appeals tribunal, saying that the ANC was still fiddling with the idea.

"It concerns us that the ANC still fiddles around the matter of the media appeals tribunal... We are worried that these ideas are still pedalled about... The system we currently have is working very well."

Read more on:    anc  |  jackson mthembu  |  johannesburg  |  media  |  ancpolicy  |  politics  |  media freedom  |  ancpolicy17

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