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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Call for private media to stop censorship and bias media reporting

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The Communication Workers Union (CWU) of South Africa on Thursday added its voice to growing calls for an end to black journalist oppression and exploitation.

"The exploitation of journalist in general and black journalist in particular is rife in the industry," the union said.

This came after Steve Motale, the only black Chief Editor at The Citizen newspaper, was suspended after a damning investigation into former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, current Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu was published in the paper a few weeks ago.

It appears that Motale has been accused of having a personal vendetta against Manuel, who is white, and of running a campaign against him.

Motale has been regarded as one of the few black voices in the industry who upheld the principles of diversity and impartiality.

Motale’s suspension once again pointed to the lack of transformation in the media sector, the CWU said.

In the past recent days, the CWU and several civil groups have led marches to The Citizen newspaper headquarters in Johannesburg, with an aim to fight against black journalist oppression, exploitation and against lack of transformation in the media sector.

"We are now certain that this matter will gain momentum as we will be taking the battle to all media houses to advance our transformational agenda," the CWU said.

It called on the private media to stop censorship and bias media reporting that favours business in general.

"We therefore call for the reinstatement of Mr Steve Motale to his position to continue to service our people.

"We further call for Citizen management to move swiftly in addressing the issue of victimization of black journalist," the CWU said.

Motale’s suspension has prompted the ANC to call on Parliament to accelerate the implementation of the resolution for the establishment of a Media Appeals Tribunal.

"Under the guise of freedom of speech, our media tramples on the constitutional rights of others and in itself begins to constitute the real threat to media freedom, diversity and democracy," ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.

"A largely untransformed media, as we have in South Africa, is an offensive against progressive values and ideas," Kodwa noted.

The ANC condemns in the harshest possible terms interference by vested interests in the functioning of the newsrooms and the stifling of editorial independence to drive predetermined agendas, Kodwa said.

The ANC proposed the Media Appeals Tribunal in 2010, building on a resolution adopted at the party’s 2007 National Conference.

The ANC argues that the current avenues individuals can pursue in order to right a media wrong, litigation and complaining to the Press Ombudsman, are inadequate.
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EARLIER REPORT:

African National Congress urges speedy establishment of Media Appeal Tribunal

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Wednesday called on Parliament to accelerate the implementation of the resolution for the establishment of a Media Appeal Tribunal.

The current Press Ombudsman is not adequate to sufficiently protect the rights of the individual citizens, community and society as a whole, the ANC said in a statement emailed to Xinhua.

"Under the guise of freedom of speech, our media tramples on the constitutional rights of others and in itself begins to constitute the real threat to media freedom, diversity and democracy," ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.

This followed the suspension of Steve Motale, editor of The Citizen newspaper.

Motale has been one of the few black voices in the industry who upheld the principles of diversity and impartiality.

Motale was suspended after a damning investigation into former finance minister Trevor Manuel, current finance minister Pravin Gordhan and ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu was published in the paper a few weeks ago.

It appears that Motale has been accused of having a personal vendetta against Manuel, who is white, and of running a campaign against him.

Motale’s suspension sparked a debate about the lack of transformation within the media, with particular reference and emphasis on print media.

This is a historical debate, and one, which will be unresolved for as long as there are, within society and the media itself, defenders of a system that is untransformed in terms of ownership, control and management, Kodwa said.

This defence presents itself as upholding media freedom and freedom of speech whilst in reality masking the commitment to undermine the diversity of views and plurality of voices, he said.

"A largely untransformed media, as we have in South Africa, is an offensive against progressive values and ideas," Kodwa noted.

Having understood that the media is a contested terrain and therefore not neutral but reflective of the ideological battles and power relations in society, the ANC has continuously sought to effect fundamental and lasting change in the sector.

"We condemn in the harshest possible terms interference by vested interests in the functioning of the newsrooms and the stifling of editorial independence to drive predetermined agendas," Kodwa said.

Honesty, accountability, fairness and editorial independence are meant to be hallmarks of South Africa’s media, however it is increasingly clear that certain sections of the media continue to adopt anti-transformation stances and remain unaccountable to the general public, Kodwa noted.

The ANC proposed the Media Appeals Tribunal in 2010, building on a resolution adopted at the party’s 2007 National Conference.

The ANC argues that the current avenues individuals can pursue in order to right a media wrong, litigation and complaining to the Press Ombudsman, are inadequate.

 

             

 

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