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, the groups issued a statement calling for this and a number of other measures to advance transformation in the media. Their full unedited statement follows. 

MEDIA ADVISORY ISSUED BY
THE MEDIA DEVELOPMENT AND DIVERSITY AGENCY, COMMISSION FOR GENDER EQUALITY, SOUTH AFRICAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, SA HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION AND THE INDEPENDENT COMMUNICATIONS AUTHORITY TO REPORT-BACK ON THE JOINT DIALOGUE TO COMMEMORATE MEDIA FREEDOM DAY


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

In order for the media to play a meaningful role in the ongoing democratization of our country, there is a need to embark on a transformation programme of this very important sector.

The programme seeks to urgently address the persistent & pressing challenges and concerns regarding ownership, control and transformation in media, with a view of giving adequate space to the country’s diverse of voices, including those of women, children and people living with disabilities, as envisioned in the country’s constitution.

To actualize this, delegates undertook to host a joint dialogue which was driven by the Media Development Agency, Commission on Gender Equality, South African Broadcasting Corporation, SA Human Rights Commission and the Independent Communications Authority, have agreed to form a multi-stakeholder sub-committee which will seek to ensure that recommendations that were made at this dialogue become a reality.

Some of these recommendation include the resumption of discussions on the establishment of a Media Tribunal; the drawing up of a media charter in accordance with BBEE Act to draw on the provisions, objectives addressed today to ensure media compliance with legal provisions.

Other recommendations include:

Transformation, Ownership and Control
 
• that agencies such as ICASA, the banking sector; MDDA; the departments of Trade and Industry, and Communication need to need come on board; to ensure that there is a review on content creation (Transformation of content??), ensure the promotion of the use of indigenous languages, preservation of culture – (preservation of indigenous languages;
• that the office of the Press Ombudsmen be adequately resourced (financially including skilled personnel);
• that government departments take the lead in communicating their programmes such Integrated Development Planning processes

Promoting Gender Equality and Eliminating Gender Discrimination

• that the media should portray more diverse and positive range of images and realistic gender roles, and not perpetuate stereotypes;
• that the Print Media Code of Practice should be aligned with the legislation, international protocols and agreements. Regulatory bodies, Chapter 9 institutions should ensure compliance with these obligations.

Role of Media in Building a non-sexist, non-racial Society, and Promoting Women

• that Chapter 9 institution, the Women’s Ministry and all progressive men and women in the media be encouraged to be more visible and vocal in the media on issues degrading women;
• that media practitioners be trained on how to report on gender related issues, this could help to transform the way in which they conceptualise gender issues.

Capacity Challenges in the Media – Children’s Media and Persons with Disabilities
• that there is a need to look into children’s programming and content on print  – advocate for an increase
•  to ensure that children with disabilities issues are addressed and included; ensure that disability across media remains visible – “Nothing about us without us”, people with disabilities should be part of content creation
• that the departments of Communication and Education should to bring media literacy into the school curriculum;
• that programming should accommodate people in rural areas because most of it is currently urban focussed;
• that there is a need to address challenges relating to research, ownership, language and culture
• Capacity building for children in editorial
• that children should be part of editorial decision making processes and children’s content needs to be re-examined as most of it is currently frivolous
• that the budget for the creation of children’s content be increased

For more information on the Transformation, Gender & the Media Dialogue and requests for interviews, contact Project Manager: Manana Stone on 011 643 1100 / 071 681 9269 or email her on: manana@mdda.org.za