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Media ‘denies expression to others’


info bill at church

INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

A banner denouncing the controversial Protection of State Information Bill hangs outside the St Mary's Cathedral opposite Parliament. Photo: Thomas Holber

The media wants the right to express for itself, but denies others the same right, the Press Freedom Commission heard on Monday.

“They have not been giving freedom of expression to the man in the street, the public,” said Ebrahim Hassaim, an individual making a submission to the press freedom public hearings in Joburg.

He said he was a prolific writer of letters to the press, but found words were ascribed to him, or substantial edits made to his letters without a footnote indicating this.

“Now this is absolute fraud,” he said.

He had tried to complain and had gone as far as the Press Council, but was given short shrift.

“As much as they would not like to hear this there are journalists who don't care about the interests of the public,” he said.

If they could alter his letters, he was not surprised that the government felt it had a reason for a complaint against the media.

“The media should not be giving anybody reason to complain. My submission is that there should be independent regulation,” he said. – Sapa


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