Mantashe expected to whip media

2012-01-29 19:15

Johannesburg - ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe will present the governing party’s long-awaited paper on media regulation to the Press Freedom Commission (PFC) on Tuesday.

The commission kicked off its “Listening to SA Campaign” in Cape Town earlier this month.

Mantashe will be presenting the ANC’s submission at the Johannesburg public hearings, which take place from Monday to Wednesday in Braamfontein.

Submissions will also be heard from the DA, PAC, Azapo, the public protector and the Human Rights Commission.

Editors and media owners from SA’s big media houses will participate, as will individual journalists and members of the public. The commission was tight-lipped about the ANC’s submission.

“I have seen the submission so I know what they are going to say, but no... no,” said Mathatha Tsedu, the commission’s project director.


“I can’t talk about it because we took a decision that all submissions given to us are private until we get to the hearings.”

The ANC submission is expected to mirror the party’s 2010 discussion document called “Media transformation, ownership and diversity” which was presented at the ruling party’s national general council in Durban.

At 20-pages long, the document questions the effectiveness of media self-regulation and moots a media appeals tribunal to regulate the press. The absence of diverse media ownership in South Africa and a lack of media transformation are two issues that dominate the paper.

In its presentation made in Cape Town, Cosatu borrowed heavily from the ANC document, attacking ownership, control and content in the local media. Cosatu says print media in particular is 95% “owned by just three big, wealthy companies – Independent Newspapers, Avusa and Naspers".

"They all reflect the outlook and prejudices of the capitalist class that own them – pro-big business, the 'free market' and private enterprise.”

“We want a much more diverse press where ownership is spread more evenly between all sections of societies,” Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven told City Press. “All of society should have access to means of communication, specifically print media.”

Lack of diversity

Craven said a lack of diversity resulted in a one-sided view of political issues.

“We think the question of ownership is a key issue. The ANC discussion document, which we quote quite a lot in our statement because it is such a good document, deals very much with ownership.

“It is strange that that shouldn’t feature in this debate, and I am sure it will come up in the ANC submission,” he said. Media ownership isn’t on the commission’s agenda, which will only be dealing with issues of regulation.

Set up by Print Media SA and the SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) in mid-2011, the PFC was the print industry’s response to the ANC’s call for a tribunal, and is an attempt to ensure that press freedom – deemed crucial to democracy – is protected.

The commission is midway through its process and has already received 200 submissions.

A body independent of the print industry, the commission is chaired by former chief justice Pius Langa, who got government’s blessing to be a part of the process. Other commissioners include former marketing heavyweight Santie Botha, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba, and Business Unity South Africa’s Futhi Mtoba.

Once all submissions have been received and heard, the commissioners will go into a huddle to review the evidence. A draft report will be written, and presented to Print Media SA and Sanef.

“Once that is done that is the end of the road for the commission, we can switch off the lights and go home,” said Tsedu.

What the process means for self-regulation and the ANC’s proposed media appeals tribunal depends a lot on what Mantashe says on Tuesday.

  • planetdonovan - 2012-01-29 19:39

    so we should let the government take over the print media so they can let it fall into ruin like the sabc...

      Xavier7034 - 2012-01-29 19:55

      The latest news on SABC, is news of Cosatu wanting to Nationalise Solar energy! - it boggles them mind when one hears about what they THINK they can nationalise.....Where would the sorely needed investment for the infrastructure come from then....China....another noose around the necks by the new African "Colonists" - sad!

      Juan - 2012-01-30 00:36

      Well that and the ANC wants to control what you read. Scumbags don't like their shenanigans to be published, so that's why the attacks comming from all directions on the free media. Once a counrty loses it's free media, it's time for all good citizens to pack their bags

  • Cracker - 2012-01-29 19:43

    Diversity of media ownership needed? Nobody stands in the way. Create as many communication outlets as will please the callers for diversity. But how do you compel people to support the diversity through their active participation, the latter of course by the hand in pocket method. Or must the tax payer subsidize the alternative media? We need to be told how it is supposed to work. Unless of course the tax payer will have to subsidize the media nobody really wants except for the ideologues and grabbers in the ranks of the likes of Cosatu. This country is supposed to be a free society and not the backyard possession of the ANC or the Cosatus.

      Phillie - 2012-01-29 22:07

      So typical!!! Don't produce or make something on your own Don't start your own media house take what is not yours but prosperous.

  • Tallica7 - 2012-01-29 19:52

    BEE for the win! Maybe some good will come from this, people reading superstitious rambling s of certain newspapers will potentially find faith in a new BEE owned newspapers etc and open those eyes to the real world and begin to question!

      braamc - 2012-01-29 20:11

      @Tallica Most of them in fact heavily BEE already, best you get your credentials correct

      Xavier7034 - 2012-01-29 20:48

      Superstitious = 'Showing ignorance of the laws of nature and faith in magic or chance" ...... where did you get that one from?

  • Max - 2012-01-29 20:06

    Now that we are whipping, when is someone going to whip him and his lazy cabinet into action?

  • Arthur - 2012-01-29 21:03

    No surprise some anagrams of the name Gwede Mantashe: DAMAGE THE NEWS!! or MEGA NEWS DEATH

  • Jim - 2012-01-29 21:05

    The SA "Coalition Government" is struggling like most coalitions to get it's partners together to talk with one voice. COSATU is noticeable by it's absence in this debate apart from crying that the press is controlled by capitalism and Zuma's cabinet is totally split as he has absolutely no vision or leadership qualities. I predict that the "tri-partitite alliance" will collapse before the end of 2012 as the only binding factor they ever had to unite them was the fight against Apartheid which is no longer an issue. Instead the fundamental differences between "continuing to fight a long dead war against apartheid", "promoting communism" and "promoting capitalism" will come to the front - combined with an increasing awareness by the electorate of who can deliver on promises and who cannot. ROLL ON ELECTIONS IN 2014 and I look forward to the result

  • Mboneni - 2012-01-29 21:57

    When the anc was a liberation movement,the nationalist party a govt the anc propagated for a free and independent media,now they are in govt they want to gag the media.The media should be left independent so that it play a watch dog role and report abuse of power and corruption in govt and private sector without fear or favour

  • Bokfan - 2012-01-29 22:27

    Craven you lousy old parasocialiste- ownership this ownership that The TRUTH is not OWNED by anyone, but its clear you and your cronies want to stop us from accessing it.

  • Sinudeity - 2012-01-29 22:51

    You can take it and shove it. We wount consider it, if its penned by the current ANC, then its guaranteed to undermine South Africa.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-01-30 09:07

    The ANC is desperately trying to save face and hide criminal activity within its ranks, the double law standard is alive and well.

  • Jacqui - 2012-01-30 09:39

    Well since I can't understand a word Manthase utter,his speech will pass me by.

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