Media is Its Own Worst News, Says Zuma Aide

by Sep 10, 2010All Articles

Zizi Kodwa, President Jacob Zuma’s special adviser on communications, says the South African media is in denial about its own shortcomings.

The real threat to SA media freedom would not be the proposed Media Appeals Tribunal but the media’s denial that it had serious inefficiencies, President Jacob Zuma’s special communications adviser, Zizi Kodwa, said.

“The ANC’s proposed Media Appeals Tribunal is not a threat to media freedom. The media is,” he said in Durban on Thursday night.

Kodwa was speaking during the debate on the proposed Media Appeals Tribunal and the Protection of Information Bill organised by the Alternative Development Centre and the Mail & Guardian newspaper.

Kodwa said the real threat to the media freedom was the denial that there were inefficiencies in the media such as shady journalism and inaccuracies.

“There is a lot of vulgarity in the media and South African Editors Forum does nothing about it because they know that they are also guilty,” said Kodwa.

He said the Media Appeals Tribunal also looked at the issue of training of journalists and media diversity.

“I am very concerned the debate is being trivialised and ridiculed. People say it is unconstitutional. Which part is unconstitutional? Let’s debate this issue honestly,” he said.

The majority of people who spoke during the debate said they felt the media tribunal and the Protection of Information Bill were the threat to media freedom.

Some said they believed it was aimed at making it difficult for the media to operate so that the media would not be able to expose corrupt politicians.

Jane Duncan, the chairwoman of the Highway Africa Media and Information Society said the issue of accountability and diversity in the media raised by the ANC was important. She however said the media tribunal was not the correct way of addressing them.

“The media tribunal is a wrong proposal. It is undemocratic and the media freedom is really under threat,” she said.

Lumko Mtimde, the CEO of Media Development and Diversity Agency said the media tribunal was not a threat to media freedom.

“There is no way the law that threatens the media freedom can see the light of day.” – Sapa


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