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Menings | Opinion > SeminaarKamer | Seminar Room > Nuusbrief: Vrye Woord

Vrye Woord-nuusbrief &ndash 19.03.2011: Revolusie wat opdoem, is nie die ANC s’n


2011-03-24

19.03.2011

Revolusie wat opdoem, is nie die ANC s’n

(Beeld-briewe, 19 Maart)

Charles Malan van Vrye Woord skryf:

As een van die baie min denkers in die ANC het Pallo Jordan onlangs nog ons agting verdien toe hy teen sy party se voorgestelde beleid spraakvryheid verdedig het. Dit is dus met ongeloof dat mens in Beeld lees hoe hy nou die ANC se liegpropaganda oor die saak voortsit ("Revolusie in SA nie so regstreeks", 17 Maart). Is hy van bo vir skadebeheer aangespreek of aangestel?

Met sy party se twee muilbandwette oor ’n tribunaal en inligtingsbeperking steeds ingedien, verklaar hy waaragtig vroom: "Dit is algemeen bekend dat die ANC-alliansie vir mediavryheid baklei het en beskerm dit nog"! Dan maan hy darem onskuldig dat die indruk gewek word dat sy Grootbroer-party die vrye vloei van inligting wil verhinder.

Hy kom tot die merkwaardige insig dat ons deel van die globale dorp geword het, veral deur inligting-en-kommunikasietegnologie (IKT). En wie moet ons daarvoor bedank? Die versiende ANC!

Dit is baie duidelik dat IKT in hierdie land ’n enorme invloed het ten spyte van die ANC met hulle vrot bestuur, en nie danksy hulle nie. Die privaatsektor het binne ’n vrye mark (nie ANC-sosialisme nie) gesorg dat veral die selfoonbedryf volkome buite regeringsbeheer ontsaglik ontwikkel het.

Waarvoor moet ons die uiters kundige ANC bedank? Dat hulle gesorg het dat die hele bedryf steeds sleg by ontwikkelde lande afsteek? Met steeds uiters beperkte bandwydte, buitensporige pryse vir selfone en oproepe, ’n gebrekkige Telkom-sisteem?

Met die voorbeeld van Noord-Afrika is Jordan en sy partygenote maar seker net te bly dat die revolusie "nie so regstreeks" na hierdie land oorspoel nie. Want die revolusie wat onheilspellend opdoem, is vir seker nie die ANC se glorieryke, ewigdurende Revolusie nie.

Dit is die opstand van die "gewone burgers" waarvan hy praat, met die magtige wapen van IKT in die hand, soos ’n selfoon daarin pas.

 

Media gee klein partye vlerke

Herman Toerien

Net voor die wêreldmarkte ineengestort het, het die sogenaamde “jaar van higiëne” in Europa gefokus op die moraliteit van die politici en die media wat in die skynbare beweging na konserwatiewer waardes al hoe meer bevraagteken is.

Die knou wat die wêreldekonomie weg het, het die aandag gou weggevoer van hierdie luukse. Maar nie voor belangrike Europese politici na die media as die vierde, nie-amptelike been van die demokrasie verwys het nie. Ironies was die “vader” van hierdie gedagte, Yves Letrne, kort hierna self die slagoffer toe die media ’n misstap aan die groot klok gehang het.

Met ontrafeling van die fiskale krisis het die media ’n ontsaglik belangrike rol gespeel om van die oorsake – soos die matelose inhaligheid van vele aan die bokant van die korporatiewe leer – aan die kaak te stel.

Veral toe ’n groot Amerikaanse firma wat staatshulp gekry het om uit die verknorsing te kom, dadelik ’n groot hap hiervan gebruik het om rojale bonusse aan die topbestuur toe te ken, het die media dit goed aan die kaak gestel, sodat die stap omgekeer moes word.

In Ysland het die ysterhand-bankiers nog argaïese wetgewing gebruik om hul konkelwerk te verdoesel, toe die media daaroor rol en Ysland nuwe wetgewing instel wat dit aan die voorpunt van mediavryheid geplaas het.

In Suid-Afrika was daar veral twee bastions wat weens hul Zuma-bande onaantasbaar geblyk te wees het – Schabir Shaik en Paul Ngobeni. Laasgenoemde was een van die strategiese ontwerpers van Zuma se verweer in die hofsaak wat met Shaik verband hou. Daar is ’n lasbrief vir hom in Massachusetts uitgereik. In Suid-Afrika is hy onder meer as die minister van verdediging, Lindiwe Sisulu, se regsadviseur aangestel. Alle deure om vas te stel hoe hy in die eerste plek aangestel kon wees, en verder, hoe hy daarin kon slaag om ’n veiligheidsklaring te kry, is skynbaar toegeklap.

Die media het egter aanhou vrae vra oor Shaik se opspraakwekkende parool, en oor Ngobeni se doen en late. Hierdeur is opposisiepartye wat ook gekrap het, vlerke gegee.

Skielik is Shaik in arres en word sy sake skynbaar nou in alle erns ondersoek. Ngobeni is met volle salaris geskors hangende ’n moontlike afdanking. Formeel word Ngobeni se kop geëis oor ’n aanval op minister Trevor Manuel. Sinies, maar meer waarskynlik, hou dit verband met ’n verslag oor Ngobeni se sake wat binne twee weke van die Openbare Beskermer verwag word.

Die huidige Openbare Beskermer het gou gewys dat sy geen regeringsmarionet is nie, en die bevinding teen onder meer nog een van Zuma se getrouste kornuite, die nasionale polisiekommissaris Bheki Cele, onderstreep dit. Haar bevinding het sleg op Zuma se beeld gereflekteer. Shaik het die politieke reddingsboei wat hy gekry het, duidelik, en tot verleentheid van Zuma, misbruik. En die beskikbare feite oor Ngobeni laat ’n gunstige verslag deur die Openbare Beskermer na wensdenkery klink.

Die media se rol om ’n persepsie te versterk dat Zuma een ding oor korrupsie sê, maar ’n ander toepas, veral as dit by lojaliste kom, is skynbaar besig om sy tol te eis.

 

South Africa: Talking about media freedom

Theresa Mallinson

(http://www.freeafricanmedia.com/article/2011-03-13-south-africa-talking-about-media-freedom)

Excerpts

A conference at Wits on media rights and regulations in Africa was a place of passionate debate that recognised the depth of the problems we're facing. There was also a clear understanding that the fight for truth, and freedom of expressing it, will be fought across the continent for many years to come.

“Regulations and rights: A Conference on the Roles and Responsibilities of African Media” took place at Wits University in Johannesburg on 9 and 10 March. The central message that emerged was that media throughout Africa are facing similar problems - most notably increasing repression by intolerant regimes. But, on a more optimistic note, the conference also heard there are plenty of people willing to fight this. It's going to be a protracted battle, though.

Given the increasing encroachment on media freedoms across the continent, the two-day conference couldn't have come at a more apposite time. More than 70 delegates from 20 African countries gathered to discuss issues relating to access to information, self-regulation and accountability mechanisms, among others. As well as journalists, participants included media activists and academics, NGO representatives and legal practitioners. 

Former South African Constitutional Court Judge Kate O'Regan delivered the keynote speech and noted: “At the heart of the entrenchment of the right to freedom of expression in international law lies the recognition that the right imposes duties and responsibilities on those who exercise the right. And the focus of this conference is how those responsibilities should best be regulated.”

Given the current debate about self-regulation in South Africa and elsewhere on the continent, the issue of just how to regulate these responsibilities was one of the hottest topics. In his presentation Wits journalism lecturer and member of the Press Council, Franz Krüger, made the important point that “[t]he misconception is that self-regulation is an extreme, whereas the extreme would be having no methods of regulation.” There was nothing “scary”, he said, about regulating freedom of expression - the challenge was to work out how to best to do so.

Of course, one of the conditions for having a successful self-regulation process is a media sector that is capable of rising to the challenge. Tanzanian media consultant Audrey Ngazima, who formerly served on the Media Council of Tanzania, raised this concern, saying the lack of a professional, well-developed media sector in many African countries resulted in the failure of self-regulation. “If the media were to lose public trust, it would lose its legitimacy. Media must remain credible, socially responsible and ethical in whatever they do,” he said. “Sometimes the lack of professional maturity does create a fertile ground for government to clamp down on the media.”

In tandem with a mature media sector goes a mature democracy. Tawana Kupe, the dean of humanities at Wits University, pointed out that, given weak opposition parties, the media effectively functions as the opposition in many African countries. But, of course, in its role as a watchdog, the media should be holding all parties equally accountable, not merely the ruling party. “We ... need to reorientate the role of the opposition and drive the media away from its current role of surrogate political opposition,” Kupe said. To strengthen democracy, a real political opposition needs to be created, and it was not the place of the media to fulfil this function. Only with strong opposition can the repressive tendencies of many African states be countered.

(...)

Nic Dawes, editor-in-chief of the Mail & Guardian, highlighted the connection between trying to control the media and the worrying implications for society in general. “Efforts to curb access to information don't happen in isolation. It's part of the trajectory from an open society to control,” he said.

As a means of negating such control there was a pressing need for state-owned media not to become a mouthpiece of the ruling party, and instead to develop into a true public service. Wits Journalism head Anton Harber raised this point in no uncertain terms in a discussion with ANC Gauteng head of communications Nkenke Kekana, telling him to “forget about public media”. “If you care about what is best for journalism, focus on the SABC,” Harber said, adding that good things would flow from that.

Kekana, for his part, had earlier said the proposed media appeals tribunal was “a red herring”, and that the ANC “will give self-regulation a chance and look at co-regulation before a tribunal”, but delegates were unwilling to take his words at face value, given the various conflicting positions we have heard on this in the past.

City Press editor Ferial Haffajee was militant about protecting media freedom. “We can't stop (the) march to censorship in South Africa. We must prepare for court challenges and mobilise popular campaigns,” she said.

As much as the conference was about listening to and engaging with journalists from around the continent, the South African media was reminded that it has a special responsibility. Henry Maina, director of Article 19 in Kenya, noted that the South African government was seen as an example in Africa. “Reversing access to information laws undermines the fight for access to information on the continent,” he said.

(. . .)

Overall, the issues discussed at the conference dovetailed neatly with the mission of Free African Media. The many voices detailing their own individual experiences – and those of their countries – showed there are plenty of people across the continent willing to fight for media freedom.




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