It is unlikely that the ANC’s proposal for a media appeals tribunal will be implemented, Press Council director Joe Thloloe has said.

“I think the (ANC) realises an attempt to have a media appeals tribunal will turn into a battle in the Constitutional Court,” Thloloe said.

However, Parliament’s inquiry would continue because the party had to carry out its resolutions. Thloloe said the Press Council had told the chairman of Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications that it would be happy to make a presentation to it.

The ANC resolved at its national conference in Mangaung that Parliament proceed with an inquiry into the feasibility of establishing a tribunal within the framework of the constitution.

“The ANC remains committed to a media climate free from vested political and commercial interests,” the party said in its resolution. The envisaged parliamentary process should:

* Reinforce the SA Constitution Act 108 of 1996.

* Review the existing media accountability mechanisms.

* Balance the individual’s rights to dignity and freedom of expression and freedom of the media.

* Review the privacy laws as well as those dealing with libel and defamation.”

At the its policy conference in June, the ANC said it was largely satisfied with the Press Freedom Commission’s suggestions for improving accountability by the print media.

The commission has recommended 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 expulsion from the Press Council of SA.

The ANC resolved that the recommendations be included in the parliamentary inquiry. – Sapa