Monday, August 9, 2010

South Africa: A Step Back on Press Freedom?

Flag-map of South Africa.Image via Wikipedia
Journalists and press freedom advocates are concerned regarding efforts by the South African government and ruling ANC Party that may impede investigative reporters' shining a spotlight on government misdeeds, according to a report on the Voice of America Website (www.voanews.com).

The proposed creation of a Media Appeals Tribunal ("MAT"), an idea that has been germinating since 2007, would allow anyone to register a complaint about alleged unfair treatment by the news media, which opponents fear could promote censorship.  Critics argue that  South Africa has no need for a MAT, because the country already has a press ombudsman and organizations, such as the Public Protector and the Human Rights Commission, in place to handle complaints against the news media.

VOAnews.com also cited legislation being pursued by the ruling government, the Protection for Public Information Act ("PPIA"), as further evidence of the ANC Party's predisposition toward stifling criticism of public officials. The South African National Editors Forum has been among the most outspoken critics of the MAT and PPIA.



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