AFRICAN National Congress (ANC) spokeswoman Jessie Duarte has changed her mind about a media tribunal to supplement self-regulatory mechanisms, saying it was ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œnot the time or placeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â, writes Hajra Omarjee in Business Day.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe tribunal was a proposal,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Duarte said at a discussion of political party media strategies yesterday. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s still on the table but the views are shifting. So we would need to take it back to a policy conference.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
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 partyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢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.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThis temperament has existed since the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢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 ,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â she said.
Duarte took particular issue with the way Zuma had been ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œcastigatedÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â in the media, saying he had been wrongly portrayed as a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œrapist with a standard three educationÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe find that level of hostility racist and characterised by class.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
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.