Tuesday, August 3


a few days ago i was talking to The Very Smart Person on the Inside about this whole media tribunal debacle that's going on over here in the south of africa.

he said:
oh it'll never see the light of day. every now and then the ANC gets a bee in their bonnet about something ridiculous and try to table it, but it always gets ditched.

i dunno so much.

i find it worrying that it's a question even being posed in the manner it is.

for those of you new to the debate, some quotes from news sources and colums, with links to the full pieces...


Mandy Roussouw
Big stick to beat 'errant' journalists

The media appeals tribunal mooted by the ANC could include measures to imprison journalists or force them to pay millions of rands in fines, the party's national spokesperson, Jackson Mthembu, warned this week.

"If you have to go to prison, let it be. If you have to pay millions for defamation, let it be. If journalists have to be fired because they don't contribute to the South Africa we want, let it be [own bold]," he said...

Mthembu said that, despite severe criticism of the tribunal, the ANC felt it necessary to implement the proposal ... "Our impression is that the media has more freedom than all the freedoms that all of us enjoy. Media freedom supersedes all other freedoms..." [yeeeees?]

"But then we saw it was becoming a pattern and certain ministers are being singled out and we had to say something..."
[These 'certain ministers' are the one's spending oodles of tax-payers dosh on the finer things in life...]


Our media freedom is an embarrassment to the rest of Africa

Onkgopotse JJ Tabane
Media tribunal: Why all the fuss?

Methinks the media tribunal is a good idea after all. For the first time after 16 years of democracy politicians will have a haven where they can run off to appeal against the media’s nosy ways.

The public will also have a well deserved break from all the exposés on corruption — the Oilgates and the Travelgates of this world — things that really put politicians in a bad light. I mean, who wants to know what Blade Nzimande did with a bag full of money?...


SOME not-so-funny COMMENT:
State-controlled media in this here democracy? Never...

Tim Cohen
Media document pays no heed to the loudest voice.

...It does not, as “media diversity” might suggest, examine the overwhelming control that the state has over TV, the most powerful medium. Neither is the focus on radio, in which the state again has enormous influence...

The focus is the print media, the smallest in terms of total media voice...



There will be many, many more pieces over the next few weeks and i'll blog them occasionally.

the twittersphere is surprisingly quiet about this. more fuss has been made over less. maybe it's because people aren't taking it seriously. maybe it's because they believe, like The Very Smart Person on the Inside, that this will blow over.

and maybe it does.

but maybe it doesn't.

all the corruption, all the malemas, all the theft, nepotism, back-slapping, criminal behaviour of our ministers, all the border-line cronyism and backwards war-mongering, divisionist thinking aside, there is nothing more sinister and truly alarming than a 'democratic' government threatening to jail or fine journalists for reporting on this.

this is not just about journos getting the raw end of the deal.

this is about your right to information and your voice when it comes to standing up and questioning a government structure that is abusing its power and failing the promises it made.

don't be a dork. pay attention.


LordFoom said...

The multi-pronged attack on essential media freedoms - and by extension, essential individual freedoms - is the single most important issue being tackled in post-apartheid South Africa.

Freedom of speech is the freedom that guarantees the other freedom because it's the one that allows you to make things known and to seek redress.

It is _critical_ that ordinary citizens, and not just journalists, understand the massive importance of opposing this top-down censorship. Make or break time for the rainbow nation.

dorothy said...

it really is. i think its also a make or break moment for the ANC. so far, they're not being very reassuring. and i don't really have very high hopes...