The controversial Film and Publications Bill was brought back into the
spotlight after the South African National EditorsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ Forum (Sanef) and
the government agreed to allow a joint legal team to discuss all of
SanefÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s reservations on the draft bill, writes Thom McLachlan in Business Day.
At the meeting, in Cape Town Wed, the government also expressed concern regarding ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œthe mediaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s handling of the right to privacy in general and the specific matter of respect for the principle of patient and doctor confidentiality,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â according to a joint statement released late yesterday.
The meeting came at a time when print media are under attack for the way in which Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-MsimangÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s personal medical records were publicised by the Sunday Times.
Last week the SABC announced it was ending its Sanef membership as a result of the umbrella bodyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s support for the Sunday Times. The SABC has put itself in the firing line for distancing itself from mainstream media.
While the government ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œreaffirmed its commitment to the constitutionally guaranteed right to a free pressÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â after the meeting with Sanef, it said dialogue was needed ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œon the ethics that must guide the media in exercising this rightÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
The parties agreed to hold a seminar to discuss the issue.
Meanwhile, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) added its voice to the debate, saying that the SABC had demonstrated nothing but ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œarroganceÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â in pulling out of Sanef.
Misa spokesman Dumisani Nyalunga said in a statement that the SABCÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œdrastic positionÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â was a clear departure from the mainstream media and seemed to suggest it was ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œdistancing itself from being a media houseÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
Click here to read the full report, posted on Business Day's website.