Regulator no help for pay-TV underdog

The Independent Communications Authority of SA, Icasa, is not helping to open up the pay-TV market, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. MultiChoice has proved able and willing to throw considerable resources into defending the territory it controls against new...

When the law is irrational

The Supreme Court of Appeal has found that you cannot call somebody a murderer if he has been given amnesty for the crime, writes Martin williams in The Citizen. Reacting to the paper's loss of an appeal in a defamation case brought by Robert McBride, he finds...

Up to editors to inspire despondent newsrooms

Editing a newspaper is about motivating a team of people to give of their best, and produce gritty, powerful journalism, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. Judging by the air of depression that seems to be pervasive in many newsrooms, too few editors are succeeding...

Media and courts should co-operate

The media and the judiciary are two of the most important pillars of democracy, Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo told the SA National Editors Forum. The two institutions should work together. Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo's speech to the SA National Editors Forum: It...

Time to show the other side of Africa

Western reporting of Africa is still rooted in a colonial mindset, writes Opiyo Oloya in the New Vision. All most Western media are interested in is the latest disaster, scanning the horizon for any sign of vultures. Good news simply does not make the grade. Opiyo...

Chilly winds are blowing around SA media

Two rulings in courts in Europe and Canada set important benchmarks for media freedom as the SA media enter into what promises to be a difficult year, writes Dario Milo in the Mail & Guardian. Dario Milo writes in the Mail & Guardian: South Africa faces a...

Strasbourg ruling supports e.tv journalists' case

A recent judgment handed down by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg affirms journalists' right to protect their sources, writes Raymond Louw in Business Day.  The SA constitution will require the magistrate dealing with the subpoena...

Subpoena threatens media freedom

The subpoena issued to e.tv journalists after their interview with self-confessed criminals threatens media freedom, writes Bewyn Petersen, the vice-chairperson of the SA Media Council in a letter to Business Day. Bewyn Petersen writes in a letter to Business Day:...

New battle over Section 205 lies ahead

With its interview of two alleged criminals, e.tv has created a battleground on which the parameters of Section 205 of the Criminal Procedures Act will be fought over, writes Franny Rabkin in Business Day. This provision, much used under apartheid, can be used to...

Perilous posting in Moscow

Threats to journalists in Russia have come to the fore with news that three armed men were arrested outside the home of Business Day's correspondent in Moscow, writes the paper in an editorial. It is time the government in that country commits to protecting the...

Seal the brown envelope for good

The Mail & Guardian erred in publishing a report claiming that Cape journalists were taking 'brown envelopes' of cash in return for skewing their coverage, writes the paper's ombud, Franz Kruger, in a column. But the claims are extremely damaging, and...

Bill threatens protection of sources

The wording of Kenya's Freedom of Information Bill may force journalists to reveal their sources, writes Peter Mwaula in the Daily Nation.  Peter Mwaura writes in the Daily Nation: Every citizen now has the right to access any information "held by...

Journalism does not depend on print

Newspaper circulation figures are way down, and it may be this is not just the recession speaking, but a more fundamental shift away from print, writes Thabo Leshilo in The Times. But fortunately journalism does not depend on print, and Internet news sites are...

The many shapes of journalism

The country could take a leaf out of the journalist profession on how not to make expedient use of the easiest and laziest card of all – race – for various downfalls, writes Glenda Daniels. The imminent launch of a new organisation for...

New Zim ventures face massive skills challenge

There seems to be movement towards the liberalising of the Zimbabwean media landscape, and several publishers are waiting in the wings to launch new newspapers. But they will face a major challenge in finding skilled journalists, with large number of experienced staff...

Reading between newspapers' bottom lines

THE recent ABC figures showed that SA's newspaper industry has been hit almost as hard as in other countries, and a radical shakeup in the sector seems inevitable, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. Anton Harber writes in Business Day: LAST...

The end of the TV licence fee debated

The SA debate on whether the TV licence fee should be scrapped has resonance in Namibia, where Robin Tyson, in The Namibian, considers the implications for that country. Robin Tyson writes in The Namibian: THE recent call by the RDP for a boycott of the NBC...

Museveni's strange flip-flop on media freedom

Uganda president Yoweri Museveni has enjoyed a contradictory relationship with the media. In the early years of his rule, he was tolerant of criticism, but this has all changed, writes P. Matsiko Wa Mucoori in the Kampala Independent. P. Matsiko Wa Mucoori writes in...

Are media part of problem or solution on gender?

The media are often criticised for the way in which they report issues of gender violence, writes Marbeline Mwashekele for Gender Links. But in reality, they simply reflect the values of broader society. Marbeline Mwashekele writes for Gender Links: Media has always,...

Drawing on SA's political landscape

Cartoonists play a unique role in the SA media, writes Glenda Daniels in the Weekender. Glenda Daniels writes in The Weekender: THE extremely politically engaged cartooning in SA today demonstrates a high level of freedom of expression, says Andy Mason,...

Death of yet another voice

It's a sad day for democracy when a newspaper closes, writes Justice Malala in reaction to the closure of The Weekender. Justice Malala writes in The Times: On Friday The Weekender newspaper was closed. When a newspaper dies, it diminishes democracy...

New broadcasting bill needs more airtime

The new Public Broadcasting Bill is a seriously flawed document, and should not be rushed through without extensive further discussion, writes Tawana Kupe in The Weekender.   Tawana Kupe writes in The Weekender: THE controversial Public Services...

Public broadcasting must be remodelled

Criticism of the new Public Service Broadcasting Bill looks simply like fear of change, writes Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda in Business Day. There is no plan to increase government control of the SABC, and the bill is only a draft, anyway. Communications...

Who will pay for journalism if newspapers close?

The economic crisis has hurt the media badly, particularly in the US, and has raised questions about whether the existing business model that has sustained journalism is on its way out, writes Franz Kruger in the Mail & Guardian. A new report has suggested...

Transformation may have unintended consequences

The desire to see transformation in the media is an understandable one, but care should be taken not to jeopardise hard-won media frreedoms, writes SA Press Ombudsman Joe Thloloe. He was responding to a joint statement from the SABC, Human Rights Commission, Media...

Uganda authorities collide with the Fourth Estate

The Ugandan media are exceptionally vibrant, but are coming under growing pressure from the government of Yoweri Museveni, writes Evelyn Matsamura Kiapi for IPS. Radio stations have been closed, and a large number of journalists arrested on charges like...

The media need transformation

A number of groups including the Human Rights Commission, Media Development and Diversity Agency and SABC want to reopen the discussion about a media tribunal, after the ANc dropped the idea. After a meeting to commemorate Media Freedom Day,...

DJs are biased against local music

Radio DJs have a duty to support local music, says Botswana musician One Muscle. Chippa Legodimo writes in Mmegi about the difficulties local musicians have to get audience attention when radio stations don't play their music. Chippa Legodimo writes in...

These are worrying times for the Botswana media

The recently released African Media Barometer report on Botswana makes for sobering reading, writes Mmegi in an editorial. It reflects that the media are in a dire state, with several laws having been passed that impact negatively on citizens'...

The return of the media hangmen

Zanu-PF has shown its intentions with regard to the media by bringing back some of the most notorious "media hangmen" into positions of power, writes Alex Bell for SW Radio Africa. Alex Bell writes for SW Radio Africa: Zanu PF has revealed its carefully...

Look north to see true valour

The world is rightly harsh in its criticism of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, but tolerates some really bad behaviour by  Yoweri Museveni, writes Mondli Makhanya in the Sunday Times. Recently, Uganda's leader has cracked down hard on the media, and the...

How CNN and Amanpour lost to Mugabe

Mugabe 1, CNN 0. That's the score after the highly anticipated interview of the Zimbabwean President by acclaimed CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour, writes Rashweat Mukundu. Rashweat Mukundu writes: Mugabe stuck to his well known script, Amanpour and CNN fumbled...

Is the Media Appeals Tribunal really dead?

The ANC seems to have backed away from the idea of a statutory Media Appeals Tribunal, but the idea is not completely off the table, writes Glenda Daniels in The Weekender. Glenda Daniels writes in The Weekender: Contrary to what most people think, the media appeals...

Who will ANC deployees on SABC board serve?

There's been general agreement that the people nominated for positions on the SABC board are competent for the job. But Raymond Louw points out that a number are members of the ANC, which demands particular loyalty from card-carrying members. ...

Expedient outrage and the Semenya tests

There was no justification for the publication of reports about the outcome of sex tests on athlete Caster Semenya, writes Franz Kruger in the Mail & Guardian.  It was a clear invasion of privacy. Franz Kruger writes in the Mail & Guardian:...

In theory, Zuma favours a free press

President Jacob Zuma makes all the right noises about media freedom. But he should put his money where his mouth is and drop the court cases against cartoonists and news organisations, writes Glenda Daniels in The Weekender. THE contradictions in President Jacob...

Chance at redemption in Semenya story

Reporting the alleged findings of the IAAF investigation into Caster Semenya was a gross invasion of privacy, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. But good may come of it if it allows us to challenge outmoded ideas of sex and gender.  Anton Harber...

Steps must be taken to rescue filmmaking

South African filmmakers have issued a declaration on threats facing the independent production sector. The declaration backs calls for a government bail-out of the SABC, criticises the broadcasting regulator Icasa for failing to monitor compliance, and calls for a...

Botswana election code is draconian

The new code of conduct developed by Botswana's National Broadcasting Board is highly problematical, writes Mmegi in an editorial. Among other things, it is much too restrictive about the conduct of debates during elections. Mmegi writes in an editorial: The...

Harmful local media should review their intent

It's time the media reviewed their approach to reporting, writes Derek Carstens in Business Day. They should be writing in a way that builds the country, not breaks it down, particularly with an eye to the 2010 World Cup. Derek Carstens writes in Business Day:...

Dear President Khama …

Botswana's President Ian Khama should reflect on the Media Practitioners' Act, which is causing such tension between media and government,  writes Misa official Rashweat Mukundu in this open letter to the president. It;s a bad law, and does...

Women still hitting glass ceiling in media

Women still have difficulty breaking through the glass ceiling of media houses in SADC countries, writes Gender Links in a summary of  its latest research.  There are wide discrepancies between countries, with South Africa at 50/50 representaiton,...

SABC needs heavy hitters

The new SABC board should be composed not of representatives of different sectors of society, nor even primarily people with particular skills, but of people with a strong sense of civic duty who know what it means to serve on the board of a major corporation, writes...

AU plan for 'observatory' draws heavy criticism

Plans to form a Pan-African Media Observatory that would use case law to define and regulate the "responsibilities of the media" have been lambasted by the African and international media community.  Jenni Marsh investigates for journalism.co.za....

Free media: Zanu-PF throws in spanners

Zanu-PF has responded predictably to the outcome of the selection process for the new Zimbabwe Media Commission: by complaining that the process was flawed, writes the Zimbabwe Independent in an editorial. in fact, they are simply concerned about the fact that their...

Zim appointments process subverted, say critics

Controversy has swirled around the parliamentary process of interviewing and recommending members of the Zimbabwe Media Commission and particularly the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, when vacancies on the latter were not advertised, writes Zvamaida Murwira in The...

JSC about-face on Hlophe tramples public rights

The ruling by a high court judge that the Judicial Services Commission should conduct its hearing into Cape Judge President John Hlophe is snubbed by body’s ‘closed preliminary hearing’ strategy, writes Dario Milo in the...

O'Reilly's troubles might be good news for SA

It's good news that the Independent titles in SA may be up for sale, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. Their current owner, Tony o'Reilly, has treated them like an extractive industry for some years to finance loss-making part of his empire elsehwere. It is...

Sign the SABC petition!

The Save our SABC Coalition is calling on people to sign a petition to widen the possibilities for public involvement in the appointment of the new SABC Board.  The petition calls for more time for the nomination period, and for the call for nominations to be...

SA editors build new online platforms

Two recent expertiments by SA editors have highlighted the possibliities of setting up Internet sites that are satellites to their main sites, using technology from the blogosphere, writes Jenni Marsh for journalism.co.za.  And they're finding new...

AU Media Observatory plan may be bad for media

The Press Council of SA has expressed concern at plans to set up a "Pan-African Media Observatory" linked to the AU. In a submission on the initiative, the council says it should be based on existing documents that affirm media freedom, and expresses concern...

Compromised Icasa toothless against SABC

Icasa is dominated by vested interests of government and commercial players, and is therefore unable to intervene to make sure the SABC plays a role as an independent broadcaster, writes Jocelyn Newmarch in Business Day. Jocelyn Newmarch writes in Business Day:...

Citizen journalism, as it unfolds

The protests in Iran and other recent events have highlighted the possibilities and pitfalls – of the social networking tool Twitter for journalism, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. And it has become clear that citizen journalism will become ever more...

Private papers have a right to government ads

The Botswana government has set up a committee to ration public advertising, and it is clear this is an attempt to force private newspapers into submission by denying them government ads, writes Mmegi in an editorial. This does further damage to the country's...

Clearing out the SABC channels

None of the graft claims against SABC board and management should be swept under the carpet, writes Business Day in an editorial. Only a full judicial inquiry will be able to sort out the slew of allegations. Business Day writes in an editorial: THE government is...

SABC board is victim of a political purge

An interim new board is not going to solve the corporation’s woes — it will only play into the hands of the ruling party, writes Dene Smuts in the Sunday Times. Dene Smuts of the Democratic Alliance writes in the Sunday Times: General...

Use of death picture was disgraceful

A newspaper's use of a file picture of children's corpses to illustrate a report on a new biography of President Paul Kagame is a disgrace, writes The New Times in an editorial. The image is not authentic, and feeds directly into negative stereotypes of...

Death of MIC is long overdue

Zimbabwe will never claw its way back into international respectability as long as the Media and Information Commission continues to plague the country's journalists, writes Stanley Gama in the Zimbabwe Independent. The recent court ruling declaring the body to be...

A journalist, a story and a political crisis

Writing in Business Day, Anton Harber traces the way the British MPs' expenses scandal emerged, with enormous ramifications for that country's politics. The case has also thrown up an interesting light on the old principle that journalists should not pay for...

Bullard on court cases and apologies

After being sacked from the Sunday Times for an allegedly racist column, David Bullard speaks to Gill Moodie of Grubstreet about why he apologised to Jacob Zuma, and how tough it's been to rebuild his reputation. Despite famously shutting down his blog when with...

Who should fix the public broadcaster?

The responsibility for fixing the SABC rests with a number of bodies, write Kate Skinner and Justine Limpitlaw in the Mail & Guardian. Icasa, the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications and the new minister of communications all have responsibilities....

Should a president sue?

It appears that Botswana president Ian Khama intends to sue a newspaper for linking him to an assassination. But, asks Mmegi in an editorial, should a president go to court in this way? After all, he himself is protected from legal action. Mmegi writes in an...

Let's not rerun same old flops at the SABC

The current crisis at the SABC offers an opportunity to set things right, writes Anton Harber in Business Day.  But if the politicians use the chance to put their friends into power, instead of creating a process that will protect the corporation from...

Plans and positions in the Sunday market

The shift of M&G editor Ferial Haffajee to City Press seems to signal a concerted push by Media24 to take on the Sunday Times, whose dominance in the Sunday market has been unassailable for a long time, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. But the Avusa flagship...

Abolish state media monopoly.

It's time to shrug off the outdated notion that those who brought political freedom have the right to control the media, writes Mmegi in an editorial. The state shold not be involved in owning media.  Mmegi writes in an editorial: World Press Freedom Day...

Divide the top roles at SABC

The departure of Snuki Zikalala from the SABC does not solve the corporation's woes, writes Business Day in an editorial.  There is a need to deal with some of the fundamental structural issues that lie at the root of the SABC's poor public profile and...

Inviting the media to its party

The planned Zimbabwean conference on media reform seems headed for disaster, having been packed with Zanu-PFsympathisers and people involved in the Zanu-PF government's crackdown on the media, writes The Standard in an editorial. The agenda has...

No need to fear free media

Attempts have been made to undermine the credibility of the independent media by calling them tools of corporate interests, writes Rashweat Mukundu in the Zimbabwe Independent.  But the argument holds no water: even though they need investment, independent...

Successful undercover reporting gives hope

The submissions for the Taco Kuiper Award for investigative journalism show that there's plenty of good, public interest muckraking going on – sometimes in the most surprising of places, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. Anton Harber writes in Business...

Scrap the information ministry!

A recent speech by Namibia's Minister of Information, Joel Kaapanda, highlights the fact that he doesn't know what he ahs talking about, writes Gwen Lister in the Namibian. It highlights the fact that the ministry is simply a waste of time and taxpapers'...

Journo unions needed in fight for media freedom

Freedom of speech is a precious right, currently under pressure in Botswana because of the ill-considered Media Practitioners' Act.  In a detailed historical description in Mmegi, Rampholo Molefhe outlines the long road the private media have travelled in...

Divorce ruling raises as many questions as answers

In its ruling on the reporting of divorce cases, the Constitutional Court has tried to balance individual rights to privacy with the right to freedom of expression, writes Business Day in an editorial. The problem is that in allowing that the identities of the...

All media should be part of self-regulation

The greatest challenge is for Zambia's media players to unite behind the Media and Ethics Commission of Zambia, the mode'as body for self-regulation, writes The Times of Zambia in an editorial. The Times of Zambia writes in an editorial: WHEN Zambia discarded...

Away with the government's new media council!

The government has embarked ona  charm offensive to win support for its media act, but the media will fight it in every way possible, writes Mmegi in an editorial.  This means going to court, and in the meantime making implementation as difficult as...

The SABC's funding conundrum

Too many restraints and too little support is cripping the SABC. There needs to be a turnaround strategy, writes Christine Qunta in The Star. Christine Qunta writes in The Star: The South African Broadcasting Corporation is the only public broadcaster in the world...

Media are unlikely to affect vote much

While the media hammers the ANC, it is unclear if voters will be persuaded to switch loyalties, writes Hajra Omarjee in Business Day. Hajra Omarjee writes in Business Day: POLITICAL insiders and analysts are watching with interest what influence the media will have on...

'Innocent until proven guilty' is for the courts

When somebody stands at our door claiming to be a Telkom technician, we check his credentials before letting him in – effectively assuming his guilt until he can prove otherwise, writes Anton Harber in Business Day.  This is normal behaviour, and...

Enough of the Khama obsession!

Fir enough, the president makes news. But Botswana TV's excessive coverage of Ian Khama is nothing but propaganda for the ruling party, writes Mmegi in an editorial. Mmegi writes in an editorial: Last weekend, the government media was in overdrive selling...

The tabloidisation of the SA media

The media should be ashamed of the reporting of the president's private life, writes Blade Nzimande, general secretary of the SA Communist Party in Umsebenzi Online.  The affair has highlighted the need for a discussion on balancing individual...

Media must adopt its own agenda for election

Press watchdog Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) says South Africa's media enjoys considerable freedom and independence but it has allowed politicians to set its agenda. It has been praised for its balance, fairness and accuracy but scored poorly on depth and...

SA musicians needled by broadcasters

There's a raging battle between broadcasters and musicians about needletime – the money radio stations have to pay the musicians for playing their music, writes Nicola Mawson in Busiess Day. At stake is around R1 billion. Nicola Mawson writes in Business...

Media heads should roll over Motlanthe claims

The media should apply to themselves the same standards they expect of political leadership, writes Xolela Mangcu in Business Day.  They should step down for having peddled lies about the president's sex life. Xolela Mangcu writes in Business Day: THE...

Training must be at top of media agenda

The Rwandan government's announcement that the School of Journalism and Communications is moving to the capital, Kigali, is good news, writes New Vision in an editorial.  The media were profoundly affected in the genocide, and was almost...

Zim media caught in political vice

The decision to impose ruinous new registration fees on journalists by a body that should not exist any more, the Media and Information Commission, highlights the difficult position Zimbabwean journalists find themselves in, writes IRIN. IRIN reports: As the gap...

Why our leaders' lifestyles matter

Nowadays there can be no neat separation between public lives and private lives of political leaders, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. Revelations such as those about the private affairs of President Kgalema Motlanthe reflect on his character, and...

Let public information flow!

Government officials are withholding information that the public is entitled to, writes Mmegi in an editorial. It is good to create PR officers in government departments, but they also need to know what is happening in their departments. Mmegi writes in an editorial:...

Public vs private

Media reports that President Kgalema Motlanthe has been involv ed in extramarital affairs have raised the question of whether this is an invasion of privacy, writes Business Day in an editorial. If no law was broken in gathering the information, the...

Broadcasting blues

The SABC Board is stumbling from one crisis to the next, blissfully oblivious, apparently, to the sword of Damocles hovering over its head, writes Business Day in an editorial. It's been made very clear that the ANC in Parliament wants them out. ...

Editor predicts own assassination

Just a few days before being shot dead by a motocyclist, Sri Lanka editor Lasantha Wickramatunga wrote in a remarkable editorial: "Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories and...

Media freedom's rocky year shows the need for vigilance

Events of the past year show that the media's system of self-regulation is working well, write media lawyers Dario Milo and Pamela Stein in the Sunday Times.  Dario Milo and Pamela Stein write in the Sunday Times: It’s timely at the start...

Power of the media can spark war – and peace

Print and broadcast media can play a great role in conflict situations, as shown in the case of the Rwandan genocide, writes Nastassja Hoffet for IPS.  The media can turn that power to goo, by ensuring appropriate communication flows, among other things....

Sunday Times needs overhaul

The Sunday Times has published the summary of the findings of a four-person panel appointed to look at the newspaper's policies and processes.  In brief, the panel has recommended a review of the paper's structures and policies, to avoid editorial...

Uganda launches independent media council

After eight years of consultations, an Independent Media Council has been launched in Kampala, Uganda. The Council aims to promote ethics in media and resolve disputes between media houses and the public. Retired journalist cum...

130 media houses launch Aids policies

On 1 December 2008 over 130 media houses in 11 countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) l publicly launched HIV and AIDS policies as part of commemorations to mark World AIDS Day, according to an article by Arthur Okwemba and Dumisani...

Worst enemy of free press is profit motive

It is ironic that people are very quick to defend press freedom against government pressures, but that it seems perfectly acceptable for management to hack away at newspapers in the name of cost-cutting, writes Ann Crotty in Business Report. Ann Crotty writes in...

Broadcasters gear up for election

Television and radio newsrooms are already gearing up for next year's election, amd debates about how to cover the parties fairly, writes Jocelyn Newmarch in Business Day. Jocelyn Newmarch writes in Business Day: Local broadcasters are already planning how best to...

The truth about newspaper sales

ABC figures have hardly been reported, and the reason is not hard to find, writes Anton Harber on his blog.  The truth is that almost all titles have dropped – and for the first time in many years, overall newspaper sales are down, too.   Wits...

Do you really think that 16 days is enough?

It's that time of year again, when everybody suddenly notices gender violence.  But 16 days of activism are not enough, writes Miriam Madziwa of the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service. The media should focus on the issue the whole...

Papers prepare for online tsunami

The economic downturn is hitting print products in the US hard, and the effects are also being felt in South Africa, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. Overall, declining circulations will hasten the move to online media. Anton Harber writes: Newspapers...

A long road to media freedon in Harare

Zimbabwe's power-sharing deal contains little cause for hope for improved media freedom, argues jocoza's correspondent in Harare.  While the ruling party's track record in dealing with the media is well known, the opposition MDC has allowed...

Press freedom rankings show Africa has long way to go

Some African leaders have understood the advantages their countries could derive from press freedom, writes Misa in a review of the latest press freedom rankings.  Others have behaved like despots again this year. The continent’s best-placed...

Radio's digital path is uneven

A new report from the Panos Institute of West Africa includes a survey of radio stations in seven West African countries about their use of ICT for reporting, production, transmission and interaction with their listeners. The survey clearly shows the existence of a...

Zim media deeply divided – during office hours

Zimbabwean state media hurl the most terrible insults at the independent media sector. But journalists from both sides are quite happy to share a drink at the end of the day, according to an article by IRIN.  IRIN writes: Zimbabwe is one of the few...

Wearing a mask in search of truth

Speakers at the Power Reporting Workshop at Wits University have told remarkable stories of how they went undercover in pursuit of the truth, writes Anton Harber in Business Day.  They include Guenter Wallraff, the German investigative reporter who, among...

Our eyes and ears on the world

Media freedom is an issue for everyone, Sanef chair Jovial Rantao told a gathering at Stellenbosch University.  He also took the opportunity to emphasise that the self-regulatory system embodied by the Press Council works well. Sanef chair Jovial Rantao, the...

Urgent need to free the SABC

President Kgalema Motlanthe should have included the right to freedom of information in his list of priorities, writes Rhoda Kadalie in Business Day.  And that would mean urgently addressing the crisis at the SABC, which continueds on its biased, bumbling...

Press freedom central to recovery

The government should look at the media as partners, not adversaries, in developing the country, writes Vote Muza in the Financial Gazette. It is a pity that the agreement between Zanu-PF and the MDC does not spell out how the public media are to be dealt with. Vote...

Media miss a beat in the tumult

The media have been packed to the brim with political stories, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. Internationally, the financial crisis has swamped almost every other story.  But journalists should be asking themselves some hard questions about the quality...

Give us freedom of information now

It is time for Kenya's coalition government to honour the people's right to freedom of information, writes L. Muthoni Wanyeki, the executive director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission,  in the East African.   L. Muthoni...

No need to lie spread-eagled

The implications of Judge Chris Nicholson's judgment for the media are clear, writes Ranjeni Munusamy in the Mail & Guardian. The political conspiracy against ANC president Jacob Zuma was there for all to see, but the country's journalists chose not to...

Zapiro's licence to cheek

Cartoonists belong in the tradition of court jesters and iimbongi, who have a licence to push the boundaries in order to speak truth to power, writes Mail & Guardian ombud Franz Kruger in the newspaper.  He was discussing the furore around the...

Zapiro cartoon feeds off racist stereotypes

The Zapiro cartoon showing ANC president Jacob Zuma about to rape Lady Justice debases Zuma's humanity, and is a "recycling of the age-old racist stereotype about the uncontrollable, sex-crazed black male", writes Xolela Mangcu in Business Day. Xolela...

We should draw on our humility in cartoon saga

Zapiro's cartoon accusing Jacob Zuma of raping the justice system is vulgar, and misrepresents the situation, writes sipho Seepe in Business Day.  Zuma has never refused to appear in court, and is using legal means to fight his case, as is his...

Trying times will make us stronger

In order to do their job, journalists need to keep faith with their audiences, writes editor Mondli Makhanya in his column in the Sunday Times. In a week when the paper ran a front-page article backing away from a much-criticised report that Transnet had sold a...

Angolan media monopoly threatens election fairness

Tight state control over Angolan media means voters go into the country's elections with poor information at their disposal, writes Terra Angolana News. Most media carry a steady diet of pro-MPLA propaganda.    Terra...

The image that captured the xenophobic horror

South Africa lost its reputation as an human rights haven on May 18, when residents of the Ramaphosa Park informal settlement East of Johannesburg went on a rampage, beating up and evicting non-South Africans from their shacks, burning shops and ultimately burning a...

Sunday silence tells story of strain

A series of Sunday Times stories that have been widely criticised have led Anton Harber to wonder what is going on at the newspaper.  It appears under political pressure, and the launch of a daily title has caused some internal...

Doing it digitally

The line between acceptable and unacceptable in 'improving' photographs has become increasingly difficult to draw, writes Anton Harber in Business Day.  In the wake of the furore around the Chinese use of digital technology to enhance the opening of...

Racism finds a new home online

In the furore around Jon Qwelane's column on gays, the public has lost sight of the fact that racist hate speech is rampant in online forums like that of the Mail & Guardian, writes J Stuart Joubert in this letter to journalism.co.za. ...

SADC gender protocol – what's in it for the media?

The recent signing of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development could mean that the stories and images in the region’s media may soon have a more balanced perspective, writes Gloria Ganyani of the Gender...

SABC should be looked at outside parastatal box

The problem with the SABC is that government policy towards it is simply taken from general government policy on parastatals, without any attempt to provide for the specific demands of a public broadcasting corporation, writes Jane Duncan of the Freedom of Expression...

Return of media bill has created an emergency

The haste with which a new media is being pushed through parliament is a cause for concern and suspicion, writes Mmegi in an editorial. The imposition of the bill, which would force the registration of journalists, is an emergency, and should be dealt with as...

Hannes Smith – the end of an era

Colleagues and friends of Hannes Smith paid tribute to him as a legendary figure in Namibian muckraking journalism. He died at the age of 75 this week.  Catherine Sasman writes in New Era: Reporter-in-chief, editor, newspaperman, maverick,...

Mpofu case highlights jurisdictional issue

SABC CEO Dali Mpofu's court action challenging his suspension has brought to light conflicting judgments on the jurisdiction of the high court to hear labour disputes, writes Ernest Mabuza in Business Day. Ernest Mabuza writes in  Business Day: SABC CEO...

Secretive state threatens vibrant media

The brave new world of transparency that was a mark of the new South Africa is in rapid retreat, writes Raymond Louw in an article for the Helen Suzman Foundation's Focus magazine.  From the attitude of civil servants to media inquiries to a slew of new...

Secrecy bill is a tool of censorship

One of the main problems with the new Protection of Information Bill is that it allows material to be classified as secret on the basis of a hypothetical threat to the national interest, writes Dario Milo in the Sunday Times.  And there is no public interest...

To err is human, to correct divine

Politicians are quick to claim that they have been misquoted, or quoted out of context, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. It is generally a poor excuse, but journalists do well to correct errors promptly and readily. Anton Harber writes in Business Day: A COUPLE of...

Hands off the SABC

The civil society initiative to make the SABC a more public broadcaster should be supported, writes Business Day in an editorial.  Above all, it is essential to break the destructive cycle that puts the broadcaster at the mercy of political infighting....

Media should serve national interest

The media should serve the national interest, according to an opinion piece in Uganda's New Vision. But these days, the local media seem excessively focused on sex journalism. The opinion piece in New Vision, by an unnamed writer, reads: A few minutes before Dr....

Let's take back our SABC!

The following statement was adopted at a meeting convened  10 June 2008 in Johannesburg by the Media Monitoring Project (MMP) and the Open Society Foundation (OSF). The purpose of the meeting was to develop civil society strategies to deal with the current...

ENews a big step forward for e.tv

The launch of e.tv's new 24-hour news channel is a big step for SA TV journalism, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. But the challenge of filling all those hours with interesting content remains a substantial one. Anton Harber writes in Business Day: WALK around...

Our guy in the blue overalls

The Daily Sun newspaper calls foreign migrants 'aliens' and takes a forthright 'South Africa first' stance. For this reason, it has been criticised for encouraging xenophobia.  Writing in the Mail & Guardian, publisher Deon du Plessis takes...

Fresh start needed at SABC

The SABC needs cleaning out from the top down, writes Business Day in an editorial.And the best place to start will be the Broadcasting Act. Business day writes in an editorial:   CONSENSUS at last: the SABC is dysfunctional from the top down and the procedure...

The SABC go-around

The SABC farce has seen the corporation fall into warring camps, with a host of people laying claim to the same jobs, writes Ferail Haffajee in the Mail & Guardian. Ferial Haffajee writes in the Mail & Guardian: The SABC has two CEOs and a third man waiting in...

Finding ourselves by staring at The Sun

The Sun, the tabloid that South Africa's chattering classes love to hate, was probably the one place where warnings of the xenophobic violence could have been read, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. The paper's tone was often ugly, but at least it captured...

TV news in SA is boring and badly done

TV news leaves you with the impression that SA is a boring country, where  everything happens indoors and people are always – and exclusively – at press conferences, writes Cristina Karrer of the IAJ. The only hope is that the new TV stations will...

As you spin so shall you reap

Spin should not be a swearword, writes Felicity Levine of the IAJ.  The government should be doing more and better spinning to highlight successes in delivery. Felicity Levine writes: In some circles “spin” is a fraught term. At...

The activist and the journalist

Can journalists be activists while still being true to their profession, asks Deborah Walter, the editor of the Gender and Media Diversity Journal: Media, Activism, & Change. Certainly bringing otherwise unheard voices into the public domain is good, activist...

SABC in poor health

The SABC boad's recent actions, including the decision to suspend CEP Dali Mpofu,  were motivated by the need to deal with serious problems in the corporation's management, writes board chair Khany Mkhonza in The Star.  While the body respects...

A chance to rebuild SABC

The SABC mess shows the danger of the ruling party deploying its activists to run important state institutions, writes the Sunday Times in an editorial. There is an opportunity now, though, to sort everything out. The Sunday Times writes in an editorial: Corporate...

New info bill has sinister intentions

South Africa’s new Protection of Information Bill entrenches secrecy and is a threat to society, argues Rashweat Mukundu, Programme Specialist for Media Monitoring and Research of the Media Institute of Southern Africa in Windhoek, Namibia. ...

The honesty of satire

So David Bullard didn't believe the column he wrote that led to the Sunday Times axing him?  The Mail & Guardian's ombud, Franz Kruger, discusses the underlying opinions satire often reveals. Franz Kruger writes in the Mail & Guardian: I was...

Zimbabwe journos mark Media Freedom Day in shackles

Despite some changes to media laws, Zimbabwe still has one of the most repressive atmospheres for journalists in the world, writes Rashweat Mukundu in the Zimbabwe Independent.  Even journalists from state-owned ZBC have been beated up.  "Zimbabwe...

The media watchdog may need more teeth

The ANC idea of a media tribunal won't fly, writes Dario Milo in the Sunday Times. But it may be time for consider giving the ombudsman more muscle, by way of a power to fine, for instance. Dario Milo writes in the Sunday Times: One of the most controversial...

Developing a plan for a new Zim media

The possible change in government in Zimbabwe offers an opportunity to rethink that country's state-dominated media landscape, writes Anton Harber in Business Day.  The institutions set up to control journalists can simply be scrapped, but some creative...

Reporter's tale of torture in Zimbabwe

The Times of London's Jonathan Clayton was arrested in Zimbabwe for working as a journalist without accreditation.  He was fined and deported this week. In an article reprinted in the Sunday Times, Clayton describes his torture at the hands of Zimbabwe...

Bullard: sorry for causing offence

Former Sunday Times columnist David Bullard has apologised for the recent column widely regarded as racist, and which led to the paper cancelling their contract with him.  In an article in Business Day, Bullard writes that he did not intend to cause offence,...

Bullard sharpened our racism radar

The David Bullard column that lost him his spot in the Sunday Times is full of racist rhetoric, writes Franny Rabkin in The Weekender. But it probably stops just short of hate speech, as defined in the constitution. While it does advocate hatred, it is probably not...

Times not in business of promoting prejudice

The relationship between a columnist and an editor is a special one, writes Mondli Makhanya in the Sunday Times after his decision to stop the columns of David Bullard.  A piece of space is handed over to be used without interference.  But there are...

Found guilty of being black

The Human Rights Commission decision that the Forum of Black Journalists' blacks-only policy is unconstitutional amounts to the FBJ being found guilty of being black, writes the FBJ's  Abbey Makoe. Rejecting the finding, the FBJ said it  would...

When truth is the enemy

Foreign journalists were among those targeted when the Zimbabwe government of Robert Mugabe flexed its muscles as tension rose during the wait for election results.  In the Saturday Star, Fiona Ford provided a detailed  description of the ...

ANC paper is putting cart before horse

ANC plans to start a party newspaper are ill advised, writes Thami Mazwai in Business Day.  It will be expensive, and face challenges of credibility and integrity.  Although the party has every right to do so, it would be much better to tackle the...

Judge is right about media and judiciary's roles

The Star has hailed a recent speech by Chief Justice Pius Langa, who underlined the importance of  an independent media.  "As the good judge reminded us, the proper functioning of the judiciary and the media is vital for the well-being of the...

State secrets don't hamper journalists

The new Protection of Information Bill is not intended to shackle the press, writes Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils in the Mail & Guardian. "The starting point of the Protection of Information Bill is that excessive secrecy harms security and that the...

Media laws in ten countries

Prof Guy Berger of Rhodes University has published a comprehensive overview of media legislation in ten multi-party African democratic countries with a constitution. Phakamisa Ndzamela reviews the book.   In each of the democratic countries surveyed –...

Before the ANC hits its own headlines

Party newspapers don't produce great journalism, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. Yet if the ANC wants to set up its own paper, going against international trends, it would be welcome to do so. Bit it might do better to improve its communication through the...

The elites are trying to blackmail the ANC

The new ANC leadership, and particularly its new president, Jacob Zuma, has been subjected to dramatically unfair and distorted reporting, writes SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande in the Sunday Times. Underlying this has been a class project to force Zuma to...

Of tabloids, tokoloshes and tribunals

ANC proposals for a media tribunal are profoundly in conflict with the constitution – and that's why they won't fly, Press ombudsman Joe Thloloe told the Mail & Guardian's ombud Franz Kruger in an interview for the paper.  He also...

Strange silence over McBride defamation ruling

Little has been said about the court ruling that awarded damages to Robert McBride, the chief of police in Ekurhuleni, writes John Kane-Berman in Business Day.  The judge ordered the Citizen to pay McBride R200 000 in damages for querying McBride's...

A sense of humour failure

Some politicians find little to laugh in cartoons that the rest of the country finds uproariously funny, writes Thom McLachlan in Business Day.  Lawsuits have been served on cartoonists, and the ANC has complained about some iconic images.  But does...

We have much to thank the FBJ for

We have the Forum of Black Journalists to thank for many things, writes Anton Harber in Business Day.  Above all, we have the group to thank for making it possible to say openly: this is ridiculous. Anton Harber writes in Business Day: IN THE days of the...

I won't apologise for being black

The row that erupted after the relaunch of the Forum of Black Journalists (FBJ) and its off-the-record briefing with ANC President Jacob Zuma shows precisely the need for such a body, writes Abbey Makoe, one of the people behind the initiative and the SABC's...

Don't try to take on the media

There's no point in trying to fight the media, writes Dr G Odera Outa in The East African. They are just too powerful.  Dr G Odera Outa writes in the East African: Thomas Jefferson's statement on freedom of the media made more than 200 years ago is a...

Windhoek's actions threaten media

The Namibian government's threats against the medi are deeply worrying, says the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) in a media release. There is nothing wrong with a media council, but it can't be government-controlled. The Misa statement reads: The...

The issue of ownership: part 1

The SA media landscape is dominated by Media24, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. In a detailed analysis of the extent to which the media are dominated by a handful of giant companies, he says size and strength can be a blessing.  Anton Harber writes in...

Life is tough for photographers

Security for top leaders is all very well, but officials should understand that photographers also need to do their work, writes Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro in Namibia's New Era. Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro writes in New Era: TOO often as editors we demand from our reporters...

Dispatch experiments with new kinds of journalism

A story on car guards in East London allowed the Daily Dispatch to experiment with new forms of  journalism, according to deputy editor Andrew Trench on his blog.  It began with an online survey, which turned into a story, which drew comments. ...

Stop blaming the media and do right

The attack on the media by newly elected ANC President Jacob Zuma displays ignorance of the reality of the media, writes Dumisani Nyalunga,  Media and Advocacy Officer of MISA-SA). The media can't be pressed into service for a particular ideology or...

Some media rise to the challenge of Eishkom

Radio 702 and some other media deserves credit for doing a great job during the  Eskom power crisis, writes Anton Harber in Business Day.The station put pressure on those responsible, and gave accurate and useful information on blackouts and traffic...

City Press coverage is aimed at dividing the ANC

Blade Nzimande, general secretary of the SACP, has written to the Media24, the owners of City Press, objecting to the paper's coverage of the party, and accusing it of becoming a lobbyist in internal party issues.  The paper has published the letter. An...

Nzimande threats like apartheid

SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande has written to Media24, the owners of City Press, objecting to the paper's coverage of the ANC, calling for the editor to be fired and hinting at a possible boycott. In a front-page editorial comment, the paper rejects his...

Kenyan crisis is not in our name

The African Editors' Forum has expressed its dismay at the unfolding crisis in Kenya, which has affected journalists as much as the rest of the citizenry.  Read its open letter on the subject. OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT MWAI KIBAKI, RAILA ODINGA AND AU...

Possibilities and danger in state money for SABC

The ANC's proposal to increase state funding for the SABC could be helpful as it might decrease the corporation's dependence on the market and open economic space for other players, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. But it could  be disastrous if...

50 years of drama and heroism in African journalism

An overview of 50 years of African journalism, edited by Elizabeth Barratt and Guy Berger,  has been  published by the African Editors' Forum and two other media organisations. Wits University's Phakamisa Ndzamela reviews the book. Phakamisa...

No real change in Zimbabwe media reforms

Changes to Zimbabwe's media framework, negotiated between government and opposition, are nothing to get excited about, writes Iden Wetherell in The Zmbabwe Independent. Journalists were not consulted, and it seems more than likely that individuals appointed to...

Racist hysteria feeds crime reporting

Reporting of crime in South Africa fits and feeds racist stereotypes, writes Jonathan Jansen in The Times. Jonathan Jansen writes in The Times:  n 1987 a survey among white South Africans asked whether they believed that under a black government...

The media and the Kenyan crisis

The media have not done enough to report the violence in Kenya, but the explosion of informal information networks is a very positive developments, Salim Amin tells Dipesh Pabari in an interview for Fahamu. Freelance writer Dipesh Pabari interviews Salim Amin, the...

ANC ideas on media deeply worrying

Amid all the noise around the ANC succession contest, other important issues are on the table at the party's Polokwane conference.  Among them is a set of disturbing ideas on the media including a proposal for a tribunal, writes the Mail & Guardian in...

What will Polokwane say about media policy?

Apart from contemplating the implications if Jacob Zuma becomes leader of the African National Congress (ANC), analysts want to see the media policy that will emerge from the party’s conference next week, writes Wilson Johwa in Business Day. A shift...

The meaning of the Zuma tsunami

Jacob Zuma's likely accession to the presidency of the ANC should give the media some cause for introspection, writes Anton Harber in Business Day.  For one thing, it shows how poor journalists often are at predicting the future, particularly because they...

The link between freedom and finances

Rapport editor Tim du Plessis was wrong to fire the columnist who drew reader anger by defending Satanism, writes Max du Preez in The Star. Max du Preez writes in The Star: Free speech is not a media issue only, but journalists should be in the front line of guarding...

Press freedom debate misses the point

The bid for Johncom by people  close to government and the ruling party can't constitute a threat to press freedom, writes Business Day in an editorial.  Far more worrisome are other developments, like the threat by Essop Pahad, Minister in the...

Tabloids as gender activists? Research says no

Research shows that women are just as under-represented on the pages of the tabloids as anywhere else, contrary to the claims of the papers themselves, writes Colleen Lowe-Morna of Gender Links. Colleen Lowe Morna of Gender Links writes: The scene is the quarterly...

SA's information law: still a way to go

Access to information in SA has suffered because of the implementation of the enabling laws, writes Dumisani Nyalunga of Misa-SA. Despite its noble intentions, the act has many problems, and it is crucial to force the state to create better channels to disseminate...

Press freedom is not the norm in SADC

Recent government threats against the media in SA put the country more closely in line with practice in other countries of Sadc, writes Lloyd Kuveya of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre’s new Media Defence Programme in Business Day. But SA...

Reason must triumph

The Sunday Times writes in an editorial that it is confident the voices of reason in the ANC will triumph and stop the slide towards authoritarianism visible in some of the recent steps taken or contemplated against the media. The Sunday Times writes in an editorial:...

Manto, Mondli & succession madness

Recent reports of government reaction to the Sunday Times' publication of reports about the health minister indicate a disturbing vendetta against the paper, writes Franz Kruger in the Mail & Guardian. Franz Kruger writes in his column The Ombud in the Mail...

Defending the 'truth that refuses to yield'

Many people were jailed, tortured and killed in the bitter struggle for media freedom. This right shouldbe cherished, Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan told a gala evening orgnanised by Sanef and the SABC to mark the Black Wednesday crackdown on the media....

Star honours the Hazelhursts with scholarship

As part of its 120th-year anniversary, The Star has honoured a husband and wife who have made a vital contribution to the South African newspaper world. Writing in The Star, Kevin Ritchie explains why a scholarship is being instituted to celebrate their combined 100...

Media needs radical surgery

With media ownership dominated by three companies, and white males still firmly in control even where the top job has gone to a black person, there's still a need for much transformation of the media, writes Onkgopotse JJ Tabane in the Mail & Guardian. Change...

Private health issues and public interest in Ghana

A Ghanaian presidential candidate has complained that the media should not be speculating about his health.  But what are the rights and wrongs of reporting on the health status of politicians?  Amos Safo considers the issue in The Public Agenda,...

Media are stuck in the past

The mainstream media simply don't reflect the full spectrum of views  among South Africans, writes Chrstine Qunta in The Star. They continue to further a white agenda. Christine Qunta writes in The Star: While the old establishment has been gnawing at the...

Media freedom comes after the national interest

The media should understand that its freedom, while guaranteed in the Namibian constitution, must be subordinated to the national interest and the policies of a democratically elected government. New Era writes in an editorial: The freedom of the media as enshrined in...

Reaching out to readers, the Dispatch way

The Daily Dispatch has embarked on an innovative project to reach out to its readers – bringing experts in to advise budding entrepreneurs.  Deputy editor Andrew Trench describes it on his blog. Daily Dispatch deputy editor Andrew Trench writes on his...

Verligte journalist deserved new SA's honour

Afrikaans editor Schalk Pienaar was the ultimate verligte – that brand of Afrikaner who opposed the extremism of hard-core apartheid, writes former Cape Times editor Tony Heard on the Order of Ikhamanga (Silver) being awarded to him.  He laid the basis...

Africa to get its own voice

Africa's own CNN – a longstanding dream, which may soon become reality through the planned A24 channel.  Chris Cramer, former MD of CNN International, outlines the new channel's plans.  Chris Cramer writes in the Mail &...

Mbeki's winning ways

The Presidency's direct intervention in the appointment of the SABC Board shows that Thabo Mbeki is a long way from being a lame duck president, writes Business Day in an editorial.  It also calls into question the independence of other institutions where...

Media freedom is a black issue, too

It's the worst kind of racism to argue that black people should not worry about freedom of expression, as the SABC's Dali Mpofu seems to do, writes Sowetan editor Thabo Leshilo in the Mail & Guardian.  His article is a response to Mpofu's...

SA editors are enemies of the people

In a letter from its CEO Dali Mpofu,the SABC has cut ties with the SA National Editors' Forum. He objects to Sanef's support for the SABC over its use of the medical files of the Health Minister, and says the organisation has reached a consensus around a...

Media should be patriotic

The media have a responsibility not to do anything that would endanger the stability of the nation, writes Oscar Kimanuka in the East African. They should not place undue emphasis on crises, strikes and the like. Oscar Kimanuka writes in the East African: Traditional...

Harber sets out his manifesto

Anton Harber, professor of journalism at Wits University, has set out a summary of his beliefs on media issues, in response to SABC chief Dali Mpofu calling him a neo-conservative. Writing on his blog The Harbinger, he explains his belief in public...

A victory for accountability

The Sunday Times has welcomed the court ruling on its publication of medical details about Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.  In an editorial, the paper highlights the judge's decision that there was clear public interest in the matter. The Sunday...

Drink and the public interest

Disclosures around the Health Minister's drinking habits are in the public interest, says Business Day in an editorial.  But the truth of the claims has become secondary to the political battle around Manto Thsabalala-Msimang, and are unlikely to be...

Time for some soul-searching

There's a need for some introspection by the media about the reporting of the health of the Minister of Health, writes The Star in an editorial.  The problem is that there is not yet any hard evidence that the exercise of her duties has been...

Botswana cartoon did the press no credit

Was it OK for a cartoonist to portray the loser in a party contest, who happened to be a woman, as a wounded and bleeding bull? In his column Whither Botswana in Mmegi, Dan Moabi argues that the cartoon did the press no credit. Dan Moabi writes: Today...

When petty scandal overshadows the real story

AIDS denialism is not a new phenomenon by any means. It has been around since the epidemic began virus popped up in the 1980s. One would think that in the face of the overwhelming scientific evidence, denialists might have quietened down over time, but that is far...

New business channel may be a bit close to politics

CNBC is giving a new, serious face to business television, writes Rob Rose in his Business Day column, The Bottom Line.  And it’s likely to give Johncom's Summit TV a run for its money.  But its launch displayed an uncomfortable...

Poor journalism makes a joke of The Times

South African comedian David Kau has a column in the June 10 th edition of the new daily newspaper The Times. His article "Double-ply condoms for higher grades" is disturbing – and not just because it isn’t funny, writes...

Declaration of Table Mountain

Editors and publishers gathered in Cape Town recently for the dual Wan/Wef conferences adopted a "Declaration of Table Mountain" in which they affirmed the central importance of press freedom for Africa, and called particularly for the abolition of...

A warm African welcome to the world's editors!

The presence of 1600 delegates to the twin conferences of the World Association of Newspapers and World Editors' Forum was a historic occasion, said Newspaper Association of SA chair Trevor Ncube in wlecoming them recently.  It was a good opportunity for...

The collaboration of culture and condomisation

Recently there has been a focus on a preaching approach to tackling the spread of HIV/AIDS. There has also been a significant amount of criticism around this approach. The ‘ABC’ campaign has failed to produce any significant results,...

Wan/Wef ignored the important issues

The twin conferences of the World Association of Newspapers and the World Editors Forum have come and gone. Much was said, but the core issue of ownership was not given any attention, writes Mahmood Sanglay. Mahmood Sanglay writes: The World Association of Newspapers...

Struggle rages for A Jazeera's soul

Sources in Al Jazeera have told Media Channel's Danny Schechter that an fierce internal struggle is underway to move the broadcaster into a more pro US direction. “There is already a change of tone and focus in the news,” a veteran...

FOI law ushers in new Kenyan era

The right to information underpins and is the cornerstone of all other human rights. Priscilla Nyokabi of the International Commission of Jourists (ICJ) assesses the newly proposed Freedom of Information Act of Kenya. Writing for Fahamu, Priscilla Nyokabi of the ICJ...

SA also destroying freedoms in hunt for terrorists

South Africa is following the great democracies in attacking basic freedoms in the name of the hunt for terrorists, writes Raymond Louw for the World Association of Newspapers. “With so much secrecy and excessive powers involved does anyone know how...

Thug life in the face of an epidemic

A colleague of mine was recently on hold at one of South Africa’s largest cell phone providers, Vodaworld (for an inordinate amount of time), and Shaggy’s “A little bit of [one girl] in my life, a little bit [another...

Should ethical editors give pseudoscience space?

Does it make sense for mainstream media outlets to run articles claiming to overturn the overwhelming consensus of scientists and scientific institutions on a scientific issue? When the issue is a matter of life and death, such as whether HIV causes AIDS, or whether...

The sins of the media

Recent decisions by the Constitutional Court are based on a legally and constitutionally flawed view that media freedom is contingent on the good behaviour of the media, write Robert Danay and Jacob Foster in the SA Journal on Human Rights. Decisions like the one that...

Kenyan media should be left to regulate itself

A plan to establish a statutory basis for the Media Council of Kenya is very bad news, writes Mitch Odero in The Standard. It would undermine self-regulation, and pose a threat to press freedom.  Mitch Odero writes in The Standard : The Media Bill 2006 seeks...

The tricky victory of 3 HIV+ women

The Constitutional Court ’s ruling in the case of NM and others versus Smith and others has aroused a significant amount of debate. Jonny Steinberg, in his Business Day column entitled “ Generous judgment instils stigma ”...

China grows its role in Africa's media

In line with its growing economic involvement in Africa, China has ploughed hundreds of millions of dollars into the continent’s media through everything from a Nigerian satellite to a Kenyan radio station, writes Michael Tsingo. Around 35 countries...

Media are missing the nuclear story

The media's attempts to have a trial involving nuclear issues conducted in the open is just a lot of hypocrisy, according to a release from Earthlife Africa.  The mainstream media has paid far too little attention to plans for nuclear power, and has bought...

Even the Zimbabwe regime can't kill journalism!

In the midst of massive repression of media in Zimbabwe, veteran Wilf Mbanga has built up The Zimbabwean into a real force that even cabinet ministers read.   In an interview with IPS, Mbanga reflected on producing a newspaper from exile.  In the...

Rath issue deserves analysis from media

The argument about whether or not multivitamins are as effective as antiretroviral treatment in treating HIV/AIDS-related illness is poised to rear its controversial head once again despite the fact it’s most ardent advocator, Minister of Health Manto...

The first YouTube killing spree

Cho Seung-hui used the media to try and turn his killings from what would seem like the outburst of a deranged individual to one with a message, albeit a confused and incoherent one. With a pre-recorded video, he could hope to manage his message, to ensure he was seen...

Something went wrong on Constitution Hill

The recent Constitutional Court judgment safeguarding the privacy of  people who are HIV positive may seem to be siding with the underdog, but in fact it simply reinforces stigma, writes Jonny Steinberg in Business Day. Jonny Steinberg writes in Business Day:...

Sunday Times builds on HIV advocacy with new campaign

The Sunday Times’ Each One Reach Five campaign is a bold and ambitious approach to the fight against HIV/AIDS. The newspaper has asked that every person reading the stories that appeared on the issue of 15 April 2007 do an HIV test and get five people...

Dumbed-down SABC still ANC's voice

This past weekend, SAfm’s news bulletins unashamedly promoted the African National Congress (ANC), giving it excessive airtime compared with other political parties, writes Rhoda Kadalie in Business Day. There was excessive coverage of President Thabo...

A solution between forgiveness and prosecution

Over the past few weeks, Americans have been consumed with what to do with radio personality Don Imus, who called members of Rutgers University’s women basketball team “nappy-headed hos', writes Xolela Mangcu in Business Day. The DJ...

SABC board member is also Ndebele spindoctor

SABC board member Cecil Msomi is also chief director of communication in the office of KZN premier Sbu Ndebele, according to a posting by DA director of media and research in Parliament Gareth van Onselen on the Inside Politics blog. Msomi serves on the SABC...

What is Botswana afraid of?

Fear stalks the land of Botswana, according to a column in The Voice, Francistown. The country is going down the Zimbabwe route, with foreign journalists expelled, and concerns about spies in newsrooms. The Voice column reads: Intelligence Bills, Ban on foreign...

Bold move from Sunday to all the days of our lives

THE Times — the new daily newspaper to be delivered to Sunday Times subscribers — is newspaper innovation at its best and boldest, writes Anton Harber in Business Day. The Sunday Times team — led by publisher Mike...

Film bill and the rise of bad nationalism

Planned amendments to the Film and Publications Act reflect a 'bad nationalist' project which seeks to control artistic expression, writes the FXI's Jane Duncan. Not only would the planned amendments subject the media to pre-publication censorship, but...

De Lille ruling a blow for fight against stigma

The Constitutional Court ruling in the invasion of privacy suit against Patricia de Lille may have been a victory for the three HIV-positive women involved, but the ruling has worrying implications on efforts to try and destigmatise HIV/AIDS, writes Akhona Cira in the...

Gays give media failing grade

South Africa's media still have a long way to go before they can be said to be treating non-heterosexual  communities fairly, writes Nosimilo Ndlovu for the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service. Nosimilo Ndlovu for the Gender Links Opinion and...

Reporting Iraq has become mission impossible

The violence in Iraq  has made it almost impossible for reporters to work, writes Vincent Graff in The Guardian.  Much more efficiently than the curbs imposed by the former government of Saddam Hussein, the reality on the street has meant reporters...

SA media out for a duck?

The Cricket World Cup is here and the Caribbean media is using this sporting event to spread awareness about HIV and AIDS. Great stuff, but this brings to mind the question: why is it that there is little to no coverage of HIV/AIDS in the South African sport media in...

Zuma should disclose status, to help save lives

Since his rape trial, African National Congress (ANC) Deputy President Jacob Zuma has been badgered to take an HIV test by AIDS groups, writes Akhona Cira in JournAIDS . But he has maintained, and rightly so, that the decision to test is his alone. But now the race to...

Perlman resignation is a warning to SA

The resignation of John Perlman from the SABC shows that the organisation – and the country – is in deep trouble, writes Xolela Mangcu in Business Day. It shows that there is deep insecurity about real public debate.  But there is also hope: the...

Unhealthy reporting on Manto illness

Speculation about an individual’s health is often viewed as invasive, impolite and disrespectful, writes Akhona Cira in JournAIDS. But if the person in question is arguably responsible for the death of thousands of South Africans and she is the...

Zuma is the victim of a media witchhunt

The media have it in for former deputy president Jacob Zuma, says Ranjeni Munusamy in this article written for journalism.co.za. There's no other explanation for the routine flouting of standard ethical practices. Where did the relationship go wrong? Ranjeni...

ANC vs BBC: battle of words and image

The BBC report on crime in SA that has drawn such a furious response from the ANC was indeed over the top, writes Anton Harber on his blog. But it is up to SA to see it comes across better in the international media. Anton Harber writes on his blog, The Harbinger: The...

Is our media ready for the challenge of change?

Media freedom includes the right to be pesky, Wits University's Prof Anton Harber told the Goedgedacht Forum recently.  What is most important in journalism is a commitment to probing and questioning. Anton Harber told the Goedgedacht Forum: There is an...

When role models have to be rolled back

South Africans may be finally getting it right, according to the journaids blog. If the youth are to be educated about the dangers of unsafe sex resulting in teenage pregnancies, we cannot ask people who practice unsafe sex with teenagers to be ambassadors in the...

Freedom with responsibility

Media freedom goes with responsibility, Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad told the Goedgedacht Forum recently. Minister in the SA Presidency Essop Pahad told the Goedgedacht Forum: “The media, free to inform or disinform?” by Dr Essop...

CNN chief's new vision

Chris Cramer is soon to leave his position at the head of CNN after a decade turning the network into a truly international network, writes Raymond Snoddy in The Independent. But he’s not about to retire.  Rather, he has a vision of launching...

Turning stigma into cool

Denim giant Levi Strauss is taking its Red for Life HIV and AIDS campaign a step further by getting into young people’s pants. Yes, the clothing manufacturer has discarded the “washing and care” instruction labels inside jeans and has replaced them...

Legacies of past still haunt present

The media often show insufficient understanding for the complexities and challenges of transforming the education sector, writes Tawana Kupe in City Press.  Transformation is a difficult business! Tawana Kupe writes in City Press: The media has scored many...

Time to ditch the brown envelope

It's time for Nigeria's journalists to strengthen their professionalism, and do away with harmful practices like accepting payment for suppressing stories, writes Abdulwasiu Hassan in the Daily Trust of Abuja. Abdulwasiu Hassan writes in the Daily Trust of...

Kagiso poised to take Primedia's space on JSE

With Primedia likely to go private soon, Kagiso Media may fill its slot on the stock exchange, offering opportunities to investors interested in radio assets, writes Viwe Tlaleane in Business Day. Viwe Tlaleane writes in Business Day: Kagiso Media has remained largely...

No legal bar against self-regulation

The media have every right to set up a council to regulate themselves, writes Loughy Dube, vice-chair of Misa-Zimbabwe, contrary to comments by Zanu-PF's Leo Mugabe who seemed to suggest that the plan to set up a regulatory council in that country would have to...

Wishlist for Mbeki

This week's state of the nation address by SA President Thabo Mbeki has drawn its share of commentary, even before it's been delivered.  The Media Monitoring Project has put forward a list of things it would like to see in the speech. These include the...

Roll on SABC challenge!

The SABC's decision to apply for a new commercial licence poses a direct challenge to DSTV, and will hopefully lead to better satellite TV for consumers, writes Viwe Tlaleane in Business Day. Viwe Tlaleane writes in Business Day: WHEN the SABC wanted to cancel the...

Where are the good news stories?

The African media could do better in highlighting the continent's good news stories, writes Oscar Kimanuka in the East African. There are plenty of those, and the media should not fall into the Western media trap of concentrating only on the negative. Oscar...

Passing of a reporter on Africa

Africa was my youth, said Polish reporter Ryszard Kapuscinski who has died at the age of 74.  The Guardian's obituary is by Victoria Brittain.   Victoria Brittain writes in The Guardian: or Ryszard Kapuscinski, who has died aged 74, journalism was a...

Monitor on the ropes

An odd juxtaposition of headlines in Uganda's Monitor shows a strange set of priorities on the paper, writes John Nagenda in New Vision.  Don't they know that Britain no longer rules on Lake Victoria?  John Nagenda writes in the New Vision: Headlines...

The dark side of journalism

Journalists enjoy the power to make or break lives with extraordinary ease. A simple assertion in a story – whether true or not – has the potential to ruin a career, reputation or business. On the other hand, a lazy journalist who relies on one source for...

When should journalists testify?

Raymond Louw has for decades been the most active, dedicated and consistent media freedom activist in the country. He is the first to volunteer for any campaign, sits on every possible committee, goes to every meeting and does much of the work, writes Anton Harber....

Reporting Desai an ethical free-for-all?

After all the noise late last year about the conduct of journalists – and the public humiliation of some (now former) representatives of the profession – you would have thought that editors would tread sensitively around ethical issues. Not so, as we saw...

Privatisation a solution for US papers?

The pressure of profit demands on US newspapers has worn them down, and the solution may be delisting, according to a post on the editors' weblog.The post on editors' webslog reads: Between analysts delivering ominous forecasts about the future of print media...

Journalism in an appalling state

All those editors complaining about the SABC look to themselves, writes SABC CEO Dali Mpofu in the Sunday Times. Their reporting on the corporation is littered with mistakes, highlighting a general problem with journalism.Dali Mpofu writes in the Sunday Times:I was...

Revenue Generation for African Newsrooms

The Wits Centre for Journalism, fraycollege, the Media Development Investment Fund and the Sustainable Journalism Partnership recently hosted an online workshop looking at Revenue Generation for African Newsrooms. The workshop featured speakers Lars Tallert - speaking on sustainability; Adedeji Adekunle - speaking on innovation; and Des Latham - speaking on revenue generation strategies.