DA will oppose media appeals tribunal

2012-01-31 22:48

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance will oppose the creation of a media appeals tribunal should it be brought to Parliament for debate, the party said on Tuesday.

"The ANC has clearly placed the establishment of a media appeals tribunal firmly back on the agenda," spokesperson Mmusi Maimane said in Johannesburg.

"Except, this time it has been brought back under the guise that it would be independent from political interference," he said in a statement.

Maimane was making a representation to the Press Freedom Commission public hearings.

Earlier in the day, leading ANC figures Jessie Duarte and Jackson Mthembu suggested an "independent" tribunal should be established, and said the existing media self-regulatory system was ineffective.

Maimane said no institution set up by the state, which was reliant on the state for funding, and consisted of deployed cadres accountable to politicians, could be independent.

"We have seen how cadre deployment has undermined the independence of Chapter Nine institutions in the past," he said.


The resurgence of the media tribunal idea had come despite assurances by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe last year that the media would be given sufficient time to reform and that the media’s self-regulation should continue, Maimane said.

"We strongly believe that self-regulation is the only manner in which the freedom of the press, as enshrined in the Constitution, can exist," Maimane said.

Independent regulation would impose standards external to the industry on journalists and compromise their freedom.

In its own submission to the commission, the DA proposed that the SA Press Council play a proactive role in monitoring journalistic standards.

It should also act as a catalyst in encouraging media organisations to improve their own internal standards.

Parliament also had to act to strengthen press freedom by passing legislation which would make the rulings of the press ombudsman legally binding, the DA said.

Where there was prima facie evidence of abuse of power by journalists, the ombudsman should be empowered to launch a full investigation, to call witnesses, to subpoena documents, and make rulings against journalists or the publications for which they worked.

Apologies and retractions ordered by the ombudsman should be printed prominently on the front page, and the text of such apology should be agreed mutually by the complainant and the ombudsman.

The commission should also reconsider the matter of giving the ombudsman the power to levy fines as a form of sanction, Maimane said.

  • jody.beggs - 2012-01-31 23:49

    Pull the other one , well Done DA. Damn the man.

  • Grant - 2012-02-01 04:15

    This media appeals tribuneral is nothing short of the ANC trying to muzzle the press. If the ANC feel the tribunal is warrented, I challenge them to provide a list 0f false/malicious reports over say the past 10 years. The media can then submit a list of reports that have proved to be true and correct. In an ideal world, the ANC would lose the next general election. How would they then feel about all the restrictive measures they have introduced? I know whose list will be longer..

  • brionyl.french - 2012-02-01 05:11

    Everytime i watch my cats in there litter tray i see the ANC doing the exact thing they do cover up their poo! Problem is ANC makes big mistakes. Well Done DA... Keep pushing this ANC members into the litter box... Let them show you how guilty each of them are.

  • Vince.York - 2012-02-01 05:59

    AVAAZ kindly "STEP ON THIS MATTER OF MUZZLING PRESS FREEDOM - WITH ALL PLUGS PULLED OUT!!!!!" Does the world need South Africa to slip into the African syndrome of dictatorship, just to hide the massive embezzlement and mismanagement perpetrated so far and worse to follow under legislated continued retributive reverse racism, and a democracy trampled by ancient traditional leaders and kings.

  • Chris - 2012-02-01 07:06

    After the fact remedies like a media appeals tribunal are more expensive bureaucratic ineffectiveness. The simple remedy is to introduce a law that harmonizes to the common law that even a judge or court cannot condemn any person without having first afforded the person an opportunity to deal with accusations and allegations against him/her. So the law needs to require that before the media can publish anything defamatory about a person it must first run the info by the person and his/her response given the same prominence as any report by it. Failure should result in punitive damages summarily granted. Simple!!!

      SarelJBotha - 2012-02-01 08:09

      There is no need for any statute. We should just stick to common law and common law courts. That way any news report that does infringe on a persons rights or dignity, can be handled easily without political interference. Both parties will also have to face each other and real TRUTH alone will decide the outcome, not colorable truth as in defacto courts, such as now prevelent in RSA.

  • Phumi - 2012-02-01 07:59

    It has been five years now since we have been beating around the bush withthe media. The resolution was taken in Polokwane after a wide range of consultation with the masses of this country and they all concluded that the media in general and print media in particular must be regulated. Why are we still having these commissions and academic debates about this issue? Is'nt the voice of the people not noteworthy anymore in this country? We should be rubber stamping MAT and Info-bill not negotiate it with the oppositions. If they want to co-govern this country they are free to do so at the polls democraticly!

      SarelJBotha - 2012-02-01 08:13

      What a small bunch of ANC connected people decided in Polokwane is evil, undermines my and many other peoples freedom and rights and therefor will be opposed.

      Joe - 2012-02-01 08:52

      Unfortunately it is not the voice of the people Phumi.

      Xavier7034 - 2012-02-01 08:56

      Yup - democraticly - my on screen spell checker right now tells me thet itt shoold be.....democratically - TRUE democracy only comes to those who are aware of the issues.....not under-informed, misinformed and under-educated, and do not know the real truth of the the BILLIONS that is being taken/stolen from the very people who voted them in, and do not seem to know the REAL meaning of democracy.

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-02-01 08:57

      "The masses of people was consult and they decided" You mend the pawns that was used to say that the masses decided. The same "well informed" masses who put a poor functioning group/government in charge by vote for them to undermine there own right and progress in life. That manage funds away from servicing them and into their own pockets? One that can't protect them and change head of police more than they change underwear? Where is this proof of consulting the masses. If it was true how can you accept these masses to decide for you while they make choices that is in fact negative against themselves. You trust a un-informed group of people that are doing there "parrot duty"? You believe this nonsense? Are you also a parrot? We all are not always happy with the media, but to allow "parrots"/un-informed people or people who pretend that they have the masses support to decide for you are a clear indication of being a parrot yourself.

      Phumi - 2012-02-01 09:23

      @DuToitCoetzee you are on the minority side and you had your chance to govern. The type of mentality you are showing is the same tendency that is hell-bent on going back to the heydays of apartheid.Thank you for your advice but we wil carry on with our "ill-informed" leaders by standards who we elected! We rather take our chances on them that you we shall never go back!

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-02-01 10:01

      Once again you make a mistake. Your leaders is not ill-informed, but members that blindly vote for them are. The leaders know what they have in there supporters because they fed them that. No, we must not go back, but we are. The strategy that get used I saw in the apartheid government as well. Blindly follow the masses because they were ill-informed and it is a thing/vote we all do together and my father was doing it. One have to figure things out for yourself. Think for yourselves. I have done my part to create our new route. When are you going to do it to ensure we stay save and on course or are you going to be one of those, that I left behind, still stuck in their own mud? You presume, because of my name, that I long for hey-days. That is the sound that most uninformed parrots make. I am not a part of a minority, but is a full contributor to make this country, my home, successful. You try to make me a minority. Why? Is it because you are afraid to compete against me and need masses to protect you? I don't have that privilege and therefore had to learn to better myself and take part in something bigger, but because of that fear from outside I do experience some difficulty of acceptance. Must say it is only from the ill-informed masses and not from the intellectual/informed fellow South Africans.(read black)

      StarStruck - 2012-02-01 10:14

      @Phumi - Don't be surprised if the ANC loses the next election. More and more people (blacks in particular) are seeing the blindfold created by greedy politicians.

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