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Johannesburg - The African National Congress is largely satisfied with suggestions made to improve accountability in the print media, policy subcommittee member Jessie Duarte said on Thursday.
“The ANC is quite satisfied to a large degree with what the Press Freedom Commission has done,” she told reporters at a briefing on the sidelines of the ANC's policy conference in Midrand.
She was reporting back on the policy subcommittee on communications.
At the ANC's national conference in Polokwane in December 2007, the party raised concerns about media accountability and the mechanisms to deal with complaints.
It called for Parliament to investigate the viability of a Media Appeals Tribunal.
However, Duarte said the ANC was now suggesting to its members in Parliament that the Press Freedom Commission (PFC) was on the right path.
“The Press Freedom Commission proposals have gone a long way towards addressing the issues,” she said.
The PFC recommends greater public participation in a system of independent co-regulation between the public and press, without state or government involvement.
This came out of a series of hearings led by former chief justice Pius Langa.
The PFC recommends the introduction of a hierarchy of fines depending on the infraction and the publication's response to a complaint. Repeated non-compliance with the rulings of the adjudicatory system could lead to suspension or even expulsion from the Press Council of South Africa.
Duarte said it had been an important national process as over 200 people and institutions had participated.
“It's been a long time in South Africa since we have been able to sit down, to have a discussion and find each other.”
Parliament would continue its investigation into the media in August, she said. - Sapa