Matthews Phosa, a member of the African National CongressÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ (ANC)
national executive committee, has warned against an authoritarian
executive, and defended the watchdog role of Parliament and the media, write Hajra Omarjee and Karima Brown in Business Day.
Phosa is the first ANC national executive committee member to argue publicly in favour of media freedom since recent threats to arrest editors at the Sunday Times.
Newsrooms have come under intense pressure from ANC and government leaders over a series of high-profile stories.
Among these are the ANCÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s succession debate, the stateÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s failed attempts to prosecute ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma, exposÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©s of the health ministerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s alleged abuse of office, and the presidentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s suspension of National Prosecuting Authority chief Vusi Pikoli.
Speaking in a parliamentary roundtable discussion to mark ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œBlack WednesdayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â, Phosa, a former Mpumalanga premier, said the government ran the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œriskÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â of ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œisolating itselfÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â and being viewed as ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œaloofÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
Responding to questions about the state of the media and its relations with the government, Phosa said the ANC did not need a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œpuppet SABCÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â or ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œpuppet journalistsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
Click here to read the full report, posted on Business Day's website.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â