Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Power of the Public's Voice

Last week civil organisations sent a petition to ANC officials during the national general council condemning what they viewed as a huge threat to media freedom, which is a "key aspect of SA's young democracy".
Media organisation Avaaz started the petition last Wednesday and had garnered 30276 signatures against the ANC's proposal by yesterday.
SA National Editors' Forum chairman Mondli Makhanya said the media was encouraged by the support from civil society, who will also be greatly affected by both proposals.

"We've been emphasising all along that the fight against the tribunal and secrecy bill was not just about journalists and the media, but about the public's right to know. Media freedom is not ours only," he said.
Makhanya said the uproar against the proposed media regulatory body had forced the ministry of state security to "tone down the bill" and for the ANC to "rethink" aspects of the tribunal.
"They've since withdrawn some of the clauses because one of the main concerns was the broadness of the term 'national interest'."

Makhanya said the fact that they saw fit to change it shows the power of the public's voice.
William Bird, the director of Media Monitoring Africa, said South Africans needed to engage on how best to curb the statutory nature of the media appeals tribunal.
"We know that our current systems [as media] are not 100%, but that does not warrant the statutory nature of the media appeals tribunal," he said.

Go to AVAAZ.

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