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

Vrye Woord-nuusbrief – 13.06.2011: Die hernude aanslag: Manyi skreeu: “Money!” as eis vir mediavryheid


2011-07-21

Untitled Document

13.06.2011

Jimmy Manyi, die regering se raserige woordvoerder-keffertjie en nou sommer ook magtige mediamanipuleerder met die geldsak, is besig om te ontluik as een van die grootste bondgenote van diegene wat die ANC se voortgesette aanslag op spraakvryheid beveg. Sy nuwe sleutelposisie as manipuleerder, en veral sy talle rassistiese en arrogante uitsprake, wys beter as kommentaar vir die wêreld waarmee die magsdronk regering/ANC besig is. Lees onder hoe die Redakteursforum sy jongste dreigement oor geld aan die media veroordeel.

’n Voorbeeld van die reaksie wat hy en sy trawante in die oë van die wêreld uitlok, is die gesiene internasionale organisasie Avaaz se petisie oor spraakvryheid in hierdie geteisterde land. Hulle het met die wegspring reeds meer as 35 000 ondertekenaars gekry. Die sekerste manier om politici se aandag te kry is met getalle. Gaan ondersteun dus dadelik hierdie onverskrokke organisasie wat wêreldwyd ’n verskil maak, deur die petisie te teken by:

Daar word orals gekla dat invloedryke mense en sektore in eiebelang swyg oor die toenemende bedreiging van spraak- en mediavryheid. Maar wat van die rykstes van die invloedrykes, die besigheidsmense? Lees Alex Matthews se aanklag onder.

Redaksielid Theresa Papenfus gee verder ’n oorskouing oor wat tans wel nog geskryf word, maar waarskynlik nie in die voorgestelde muilbandbedeling geskryf sou kon word nie:

Oor die aanslag op skrif: daar was die afgelope tyd weer soveel pogings dat mens byna nie weet waar om te begin nie – van Manyi se dreigement om net nuus te verskaf aan regeringsvriendelike media (“Spieëltjie, spieëltjie aan die wand …”) tot Zapiro se spotprent oor die verkragting van spraakvryheid: “Fight, Sister, FIGHT!”, Vavi se rooiligverslag in die Sunday Times en Rapport se samevatting van waarmee die regering besig is: “Nou doen hy presies wat enige swak regering doen: Hy probeer keer dat mense van die swakhede uitvind eerder as om die swakhede te probeer regstel.”

Maar mense word wakker (hoop ek). Die protes oor die wet kry nuwe lewe en in vanoggend se Beeld skryf Gewone Gerhard: “Miskien het dit tyd geword dat ons gewone mense dalk ’n bietjie ons stemme dik maak.” Hoor-hoor!

Mens kan nog lees hoe Deon Opperman in die onderhoud met Magda Swart oor sy verhoogstuk “Tree aan!” driftig raak oor veral Afrikaners se selfsensuur. Oor die opvoering en die rede daarvoor. Oor die Grensoorlog self.

Hoeveel hiervan sou ons onder die beoogde inligtingswet kon sien? Die aanslag op skrif is tog eintlik ’n aanslag op alles – veral, uiteindelik, op lewe. En laasgenoemde, weet ons almal, het in Suid-Afrika goedkoper as ’n selfoon geword.

Was dit nie vir die New York Times–tydskrif se voorbladfoto van ’n grusame xenofobiese moord vyf maande gelede in Diepsloot nie, het dergelike voorvalle in openbare stilte voortgegaan terwyl die regering hom in die mooi woorde in die inskiklike media spieël.

Manyi-hulle sou nie gehou het van Braam de Vries se “Reg op repliek” in Rapport van verlede week nie, veral nie van die helder manier waarop hy die relevansie van Malema se bedoeling met sy omstrede lied uitgewys het nie.

Ook nie van Beeld se hoofstorie vanoggend oor nog ’n vrou wat keelaf gesny is, nog ’n man wat doodgekap is nie, nog minder dat die slagoffer deur die polisie weggewys is toe hy aangemeld het dat sy honde vergiftig is, en dat ’n doodsdreigement hom bereik het.

Sou uitgewers romans soos Karin Brynard se Plaasmoord of Marlene ? [wie se fout?]  Breytenbach se Bloedgrond kon waag? Verder: sou PJ Haasbroek in sy resensie van Bloedgrond vanoggend op die superredakteur se blad kon skryf: “Die groot aantal plaasmoorde in Suid-Afrika en die aard daarvan daag ons skrywers uit om deeglik, indringend en met deernis daaroor te skryf“?

Dis ’n klinkende oproep.



Regering probeer koerante omkoop, reken Sanef

Lizel Steenkamp

Beeld, 2011-06-10

Die kabinet se besluit dat die regering voortaan nét in media sal adverteer waar hy “waarde vir sy geld kry”, is ’n poging om koerante “om te koop” om regeringspropaganda te verkondig.

So veroordeel die Suid-Afrikaanse Nasionale Redakteursforum (Sanef) dié plan, wat eergister deur mnr Jimmy Manyi, regeringswoordvoerder, bekend gemaak is. Sanef waarsku dit druis nie net in teen die grondwetlike vereistes vir mediavryheid nie, maar is ook strydig met die SA Perskode en die Gesagsliggaam vir Reklamestandaarde (ASA) se reëls.

Ook die DA beskou dit as ’n aanduiding van die Zuma-administrasie se toenemende onverdraagsaamheid oor kritiek.

Die regering se totale advertensiebesteding van sowat R1 miljard per jaar sal voortaan in die regeringskommunikasiediens (GCIS), waarvan Manyi die hoof is, gesentraliseer word.

Manyi het ontken dat media-instellings positief oor die regering moet verslag doen om daarvoor in aanmerking te kom. Volgens hom wil die regering bloot behoorlike dekking kry en sal die GCIS die advertensiebegroting bestee by instellings wat die regering se boodskap die beste oordra.

Maar volgens Sanef is dít niks anders nie as ’n manier om koerante te dwing om spreekbuise van die regering te word. “Sanef veroordeel die plan en herinner die regering daaraan dat pogings om die media se monde oor korrupsie en wanadministrasie te snoer, voorheen ook misluk het.”

Sanef waarsku dit kan die regering se beeld oorsee skade berokken, beleggers twee keer laat dink en die Europese Unie (’n groot handelsvennoot wat mediavryheid hoog aanskryf) se indruk van Suid-Afrika negatief beïnvloed.

Soortgelyke planne deur Botswana se regering het onlangs ook in hul howe in die slag gebly.

Me Natasha Michael, DA-LP en -woordvoerder oor kommunikasie, voer aan die regering is duidelik daarop ingestel om die “vrye media in sy propagandamasjien te omskep” en het dit as magsmisbruik bestempel.

Die media is die afgelope elf maande in die ANC se spervuur sedert die party se voorneme om ’n mediatribunaal tot stand te bring om die gedrukte media te reguleer, bekend geword het.

Die stof het ná die ANC se hoofraadsvergadering in September 2010 effens gaan lê, maar me Stella Ndabeni – ’n jong, invloedryke ANC-LP – het dit verlede week opnuut in die kollig geplaas toe sy in die GCIS se begrotingsdebat gesê het die mediatribunaal “kom parlement toe”.

Die sentralisering van staatsdepartemente se advertensiebegrotings volg ook te midde van die voorgenome Wet op die Beskerming van Inligting, wat in sy huidige vorm alle staatsdepartemente en -instellings magtig om inligting in belang van nasionale veiligheid te klassifiseer.

Die ANC het eers verlede week nadat die vakverbond Cosatu hom met die konstitusionele hof gedreig het, afgesien van sy voorneme om die wetsontwerp deur die parlement te druk.

AVAAZ Petition against the Secrecy Bill is gaining momentum

Dear Friends across South Africa,

Right now a Parliamentary Committee is steamrolling through an unconstitutional secrecy bill that could take South Africa back to the dark days of impunity – allowing government institutions to operate without public scrutiny, and stopping the media from exposing corruption, and abuse of power.

But public pressure is pushing back! Last week, after hundreds of media outlets and civic organisations had submitted amendments to Parliament, COSATU, Fedusa and the former Minister for Intelligence Services, Ronnie Kasrils condemned the bill, and on Friday ruling party MPs were forced to prolong the Parliamentary debate. But security sector interests are at stake, and to ensure this current bill is stopped will require an avalanche of public opposition.

The bill would undermine the Constitution and destroy key pillars of a vibrant democracy – free media, open government and an informed public. Let's tell the political leadership that the people of South Africa vehemently oppose this Bill. Sign now, then forward this to everyone – when it reaches 50,000 signers it will be delivered to Parliament, the Executive and key international allies:

Right now ruling party MPs are threatening to force the Committee to vote clause by clause on a secrecy bill that entirely counters the African and emerging economies movement towards more open government. The Bill would empower officials in nearly every state body to classify any document as secret on the basis of a vague definition of “national security”. Poor communities could be denied requests of information about service delivery, and if abused, a local clinic, municipal office or national ministry could use the bill to cover up corruption or misuse of public resources. The Bill would also lock up anyone who possess or publishes anything that is classified for a minimum of 15 years, even if that information is clearly in the public interest, deterring investigative journalists, and whistle-blowers from exposing official crime and corruption.

The Protection of Information Act of 1982 needs to be replaced, but there is a formula that would not flout citizens' constitutional rights and protect secrets. A democratic and strong law would: have an independent panel appointed by Parliament to determine what secrets had a bearing on national security; only apply to institutions in the security sector; endorse public scrutiny of the intelligence agencies; and would ensure that legitimate whistleblowers that disclose secrets in the public interest are always protected.

Last year we worked with citizens and organizations across the country to raise the alarm and together we halted the bill's progress. And last week a surge of public criticism pushed ruling party MPs to take their foot off the accelerator. People power works! Basic freedoms and democratic rights are on the line and we have no time to lose. Let's build a monumental movement to oppose this regressive bill. Sign the urgent petition and forward this message to everyone:

South Africa's Constitution is held up around the world as a model foundation for democracy. Let's stand together now to protect it, and oppose those who are attempting to throw a shroud of secrecy over government and use this bill to protect power and privilege.

With hope,

Alice, Sam, Benjamin, Pascal and the rest of the Avaaz team


Sources

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Information Bill: What about South Africa's gutless businessmen?

Alex Matthews

South Africa's gutless businessmen

09 June 2011

Alex Matthews questions the silence on the Protection of Information Bill

Democracy is an ecosystem. Its survival is dependent on many things: a sound legislative framework, an independent judiciary, a vibrant parliament and a responsive government. Beyond this, it also needs a vigilant, proactive civil society, engaged voters and a free media: three elements that ensure government is held accountable for its actions, transparent about what it does and goaded into serving the best of interests of the people - not of those in power.

The Protection of Information bill is one of the gravest threats to this ecosystem. It will critically undermine the ability for parliament, the media and civil society to ensure accountability and transparency in government. The ANC claims this law is to protect state security but, as many before me have pointed out, its wide-ranging mandate means it can easily be used to cover up wrongdoing, severely punishing those who dare to expose it.

Earlier this week, Pick n Pay's chairman, Gareth Ackerman, spoke out against the bill. He provided a calm and clear explanation of its potential to damage the economy and deter foreign investment. Financial information could be concealed, as could corruption - thereby severely stymieing the economic freedom needed to foster entrepreneurship and attract investors - both essential ingredients required to combat poverty and narrow the vast gulf between rich and poor.
While the dangers of the Info Bill seem self-evident, it is startling that so far Ackerman is the only significant businessman who has criticised it. The silence from the rest of business is as deafening as it is inexcusable.

When the prosperity of our economy, our democracy and our country's future is being put at risk, you would have thought there would have been a cacophony of outrage from businesses - it is in their interest that the bill does not become law, after all. But no. Two of our biggest and most important business groupings, Business Leadership South Africa and Business Unity South Africa have not said a word. Neither have our largest companies.

What can explain this gutless behaviour: is business hoping this is a battle that will be fought by others? Or that the ANC will suddenly override its totalitarian instincts and dump the legislation at the last minute?

Perhaps a more plausible explanation is that many businesses are simply too afraid to stand up to government because they are reliant upon political goodwill to operate freely. Many businesses unquestioningly and sycophantically signed up to Black Economic Empowerment. This was despite them knowing that BEE had little to with empowering blacks and everything to do with consolidating the ANC's economic clout: a system designed to massively enrich a tiny yet powerful elite.

Big business thought it would get an easy ride if it cosied up to the ANC. And indeed, with loyal ANC cadres dotting the boards of some of South Africa's largest companies, business has largely been left alone to get on with making money.

Now they're really caught in a fix. Even if they are conscious of the long-term dangers of a law like the Info Bill, they are too entrenched in the ANC's patronage network to speak out about it lest they incur the wrath of the party's titans and lose business deals and political support as a result.
Our nation's corporations should have been more careful when they made this faustian pact with the ANC in the Nineties. In the afterglow of the first democratic elections it must have seemed pragmatic and sensible to cuddle up to the new snouts at the trough. But with the ANC's non-racial values long squandered by the craven despots that call the shots in the movement now, the folly of such an approach has been exposed.

If the Info Bill is thwarted, it will certainly not be thanks to big business. It will be in spite of it: in spite of a group of companies that have cosily conspired with the ANC to maintain a status quo of wealth in the hands of a few, at the expense of the countless millions who remain economically oppressed.
Alex Matthews is founder of The Soapbox, the blogazine for young South Africans. He blogs at Afrodissident.

 

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