Sunday Indy Books

The best of South African literature

Press should be able to stand scrutiny

Comment on this story


si jack makobi

After the ANC mooted the idea of a media appeals tribunal, which was rejected by the media industry and opposition parties, the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) and Print Media SA established an independent commission, chaired by retired judge Pius Langa, to look at the current self-regulatory press environment against the ANC’s proposed tribunal and come up with a report.

All parties made submissions to the inquiry and last month the commission released its report with specific recommendations on how to regulate the print media.

Coincidentally in Britain, after the phone-hacking scandal at the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World, Prime Minister David Cameron appointed Judge Brian Leveson to examine Britain’s press standards and ethics in what is now called the Leveson Inquiry.

Witnesses who have appeared before the inquiry have indicated how powerful the hold was that Murdoch’s media empire is alleged to have had on British politicians for three decades.

What has also emerged is how far outside ethical boundaries the press can go to generate scoops in the chase for higher circulation figures and therefore more advertising revenue, which is the lifeblood of every commercial publication.

When we debate the role of media in SA society, we tend to underestimate two fundamentals. The first is that the media influences politics directly and indirectly and that the media is itself a business, with shareholders with an interest in profit. It is not just an institution that “speaks truth to power”, but can also influence who that “power” is.

After decades of Tory (Conservative Party) rule in Britain, the Labour Party led by Tony Blair cozied up to Murdoch, who was then a Tory supporter.

Alastair Campbell, who was the Labour spin doctor at the time, told the Leveson Inquiry that “there is no point denying that Murdoch was the single most important media figure in the UK”.

Murdoch, after engaging with the Labour Party in 1994, ordered his newspapers to endorse Labour in the run-up to elections that they won in 1997.

Here at home, the recommendations of the Langa Commission were received with guarded optimism by the media and the ruling party.

Key among other recommendations is a move away from the self-regulation regime to what it calls “independent co-regulation” in a Press Council with a citizen majority, even on its appeals panel.

It recommended a system of penalties: space fines for editorial transgressions, monetary fines for repeat offenders and the possibility of suspension and expulsion for those who refuse to comply.

There is general consensus that these measures will go a long way towards eliminating bad journalism.

I believe the media, like any other profession, must be subjected to professional scrutiny.

They, like any other profession, must be held accountable for their deeds and words, far beyond the right to reply which some newspapers still do not grant to the subjects of their reports, so as not to allow the facts to “get in the way of a good story”.

With the advent of “brown envelope” journalism, where politicians and businesspeople pay journalists for positive publicity or to smear their opponents, as alleged in the case of former Western Cape premier Ebrahim Rasool, we need even more accountability from the media.

Journalists are human. They have material needs and hold political views.

They have backgrounds that inform how they interpret social, economic and political events and reflect them to us.

For instance, they individually have personal opinions about who our next president should be.

Just as we often argue that, sadly, the police, intelligence and the politicised public service are divided right down the middle along the lines of ANC internal divisions, so are all newsrooms. There are many professional journalists who need not fear professional scrutiny.

Just as they rightly expect elected leaders and public representatives to stand up to public scrutiny.

As Professor Anton Harber wrote in response to the commission’s recommendations in a business daily recently: “These measures will help eliminate the worst of our journalism, but do not guarantee that we will have good, quality and in-depth reporting.”

As a trained journalist and media practitioner, I have always believed the media also needs a professional body, something akin to the legal profession’s bar councils, to adjudicate profession misconduct against set standards and ethics, and with the power to disbar or strike off the roll journalists who abuse the power of the pen.

For me, the proposed Press Council comes very close to this.

n Mokobi is an independent media and politics analyst.


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

     

Newspaper Subscriptions
sportliefhebber
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 31.
View Profile
Athena
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 45.
View Profile
Sonskyn83
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
AGX
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 44.
View Profile
Stiletto1
I'm a 53 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 57.
View Profile
Foreverinhope
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 56.
View Profile
KarooBoereMeisie
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
Starlight_001
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Lulu_101
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 45.
View Profile
Roxyxxx
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 43 and 50.
View Profile
CC82
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Jimmyhgirl
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 55.
View Profile
Bluebell531
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 60.
View Profile
KayBee75
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 49.
View Profile
blondgirl
I'm a 57 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 53 and 60.
View Profile
LilaBlom
I'm a 23 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 23 and 33.
View Profile
TenderMoments
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
PearlyGem
I'm a 55 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 60.
View Profile
Vinnette
I'm a 52 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
devotedlady
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 43 and 55.
View Profile
PhoenixLin
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 42.
View Profile
Jade_242
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
thrillsandfrills
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 41 and 45.
View Profile
MrsRobinson
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 45.
View Profile
Lvit2C
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 39.
View Profile
khosyx
I'm a 20 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 21 and 30.
View Profile
Cymbidium
I'm a 47 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 47 and 60.
View Profile
dreamsoftly
I'm a 49 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 47 and 58.
View Profile
LoveStruck_188
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
MistressofBrand
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 44.
View Profile
ShannaAK
I'm a 20 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 20 and 27.
View Profile
iamclassy
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 65.
View Profile
JustAnna
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 55.
View Profile
DaffodilTulip
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
ioio
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Sosialemeis2
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 46.
View Profile
AmaJ
I'm a 44 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 42 and 50.
View Profile
ThisIsTheRemix
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 31 and 41.
View Profile
Rarefind
I'm a 54 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 52 and 63.
View Profile
Sunshine_again
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 43 and 58.
View Profile
Comet43
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 52.
View Profile
Blondie953
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Dreamer1987
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Kosmos075
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
naty677
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 39 and 62.
View Profile
Livs_89
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 38.
View Profile
Lilakii
I'm a 21 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 20 and 33.
View Profile
butterflykisses14
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 31 and 51.
View Profile
Magnolia52
I'm a 52 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 65.
View Profile
HeiN_018
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Pretty_Nerd
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 38.
View Profile
Duifie038
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 50.
View Profile
itu22
I'm a 22 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 37.
View Profile
pesin15
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
Lady_143
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 40.
View Profile
bon1bon
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 40.
View Profile
bluemon
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
This_is_m3
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 50.
View Profile
Gypsey4Life
I'm a 51 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 62.
View Profile
kel3
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 31 and 38.
View Profile
ASJ
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
GirlInterruptedNow
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 45.
View Profile
Katryn777
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 40.
View Profile
OneWay
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 47.
View Profile
Gem24
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
Maybeperhaps
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 44.
View Profile
angelface93
I'm a 21 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 21 and 29.
View Profile
RiaStar
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 40.
View Profile
MademoiselleMyGirl
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
Veronica2477
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
honkytonkwoman
I'm a 58 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 55 and 64.
View Profile
nads42
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 58.
View Profile
findmemyman
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
LuckyCharm_440
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 40.
View Profile
_Alwayssmiling
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 41.
View Profile
limegreen48
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
soutenpepper
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 37.
View Profile
Gem31
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Belind4_M
I'm a 19 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 19 and 30.
View Profile
love_passionately
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
molletdelvalles
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
Stella143
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 45.
View Profile
MustLoveDogz
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 43.
View Profile
CLC_91
I'm a 23 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
xine_414
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Venus_001
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 45.
View Profile
lookingsexy200
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 45.
View Profile
supe24
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 65.
View Profile
Lisa_Jayne
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 23 and 35.
View Profile
BMull08
I'm a 19 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 19 and 30.
View Profile
Sugababe
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 42.
View Profile
sunshinebright
I'm a 55 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
Abs
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 40.
View Profile
classyuptowngirl
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 48 and 65.
View Profile
Wonderer_0202
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 58.
View Profile
NY25
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 30.
View Profile
Ninks
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 42.
View Profile
Cat007
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
AH1974
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 48.
View Profile
TheDuke_99
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 42.
View Profile
Liefasb
I'm a 63 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 60.
View Profile
DJStarglance
I'm a 51 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
Jurgy62
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 37 and 55.
View Profile
PerfectGentleman_700
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 39.
View Profile
DeeeXx
I'm a 31 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 21 and 32.
View Profile
letslook
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
tigercat
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 22 and 54.
View Profile
Determined_69
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 47.
View Profile
ekke_706
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
Geard1977
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 26 and 40.
View Profile
Moonrakker
I'm a 64 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 64.
View Profile
areg57
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 41 and 51.
View Profile
Newdreamz
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 37 and 46.
View Profile
IceDad66
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
happymaker66
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
boersoekvrou14
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 42.
View Profile
Gster1
I'm a 64 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
longingforu
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 38.
View Profile
Stressfree
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 52.
View Profile
deeptime
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 58.
View Profile
Breukes
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 26 and 35.
View Profile
skyandsand
I'm a 31 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Abeachboy
I'm a 51 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 38 and 48.
View Profile
cornrlius205
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 50.
View Profile
Rich_H
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 48.
View Profile
WanderingShadow
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 40.
View Profile
Padriac_1974
I'm a 40 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
TheRisingSun
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
heartroll
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 60.
View Profile
Dreamzzz
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
polar1970
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
philip_unplugged514
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 68.
View Profile
Marley77
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
oth1982
I'm a 32 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
thearchitect1
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 36 and 70.
View Profile
JustJve99
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 45.
View Profile
mitcheal_703
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 65.
View Profile
PaulA79
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
audiess
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 39 and 64.
View Profile
Teddiebeerpa
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Kent123
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
gentlebutcrazy
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
Ben_57
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 55.
View Profile
Summerstorm_007
I'm a 60 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 58.
View Profile
Boereman
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 52.
View Profile
softtail
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 48.
View Profile
Eugene053
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
arew
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 55.
View Profile
FeaturedProfile
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 54.
View Profile
Fairtalk101
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 37.
View Profile
Double_N
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 50.
View Profile
matiekat
I'm a 66 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
Gerrie1
I'm a 67 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 60.
View Profile
GideonVisser
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 29.
View Profile
plodof
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
LEO1982
I'm a 32 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 40.
View Profile
Banker009
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 34 and 49.
View Profile
MLACOME0147
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 79.
View Profile
RVCZ
I'm a 24 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 24.
View Profile
LoveFriendFirst123
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 72.
View Profile
saks001
I'm a 61 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 60.
View Profile
Parmos1
I'm a 64 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 63.
View Profile
Rebelinbluejeans
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 62.
View Profile
Woody777
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
LiveLifeAlways
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 33 and 41.
View Profile
OohCharles
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Pottie16
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Pete_1
I'm a 70 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 65.
View Profile
Bushbaby210
I'm a 27 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 21 and 35.
View Profile
thesaltofthesea
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 50.
View Profile
GenuineJ
I'm a 64 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 64.
View Profile
Brad88
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
Espavo
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 48.
View Profile
Virion
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 33.
View Profile
WagOngeduldig
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
ch_nb
I'm a 28 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 45.
View Profile
koolstoof55
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 63.
View Profile
Gazza619
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 32.
View Profile
BobTheExtremeBuilder
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 47.
View Profile
Kawa1000
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
shadowwarrior
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 41 and 55.
View Profile
Mais_171
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
M0J0
I'm a 34 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 23 and 35.
View Profile
JustCallMeBwana
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 38.
View Profile
Thebestone1
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 48.
View Profile
waitingforgodot
I'm a 68 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 53 and 60.
View Profile
B_B_B
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 45.
View Profile
chester3
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 76.
View Profile
Cruisingoldie
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 50.
View Profile
Lifechanger_7
I'm a 25 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 30.
View Profile
CapeLover
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 41 and 50.
View Profile
Rumrun
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 44 and 56.
View Profile
MysticKitesurfer
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 27 and 36.
View Profile
cloudhopper
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
rossi46
I'm a 66 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 65.
View Profile
TheRealPeterPan
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
bellagio
I'm a 69 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 65.
View Profile

Business Directory