AFRICAN National Congress (ANC) spokeswoman Jessie Duarte has changed her mind about a media tribunal to supplement self-regulatory mechanisms, saying it was “not the time or place”, writes Hajra Omarjee in Business Day.

“The tribunal was a proposal,” Duarte said at a discussion of political party media strategies yesterday. “It’s still on the table but the views are shifting. So we would need to take it back to a policy conference.”

Duarte said mechanisms, including the press ombudsman, needed to be strengthened in order to ensure accountability.

The proposal for a media tribunal was solidified at the party’s elective conference in Polokwane in 2007. Party president Jacob Zuma recently said that he backed such a tribunal.

Duarte said the media in SA was historically hostile towards the ANC and remained so.

“This temperament has existed since the ’60s. When (former president Nelson) Mandela was released from prison, (the media) was highly critical of his ability to lead after spending 20 years in jail. Thabo Mbeki had a torrid time ,” she said.

Duarte took particular issue with the way Zuma had been “castigated” in the media, saying he had been wrongly portrayed as a “rapist with a standard three education”.

“We find that level of hostility racist and characterised by class.”

Democratic Alliance (DA) CEO Ryan Coetzee defended the media, saying it was not a coherent entity with a particular agenda and that journalists were individuals who expressed different views.

Click here to read the full report, posted on Business Day's website.