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 partyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s conference next week, writes Wilson Johwa in Business Day.
A shift to the left on economic policy, and a rightward tilt on social issues ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â that is what some expect to come from the conference in Polokwane.
The effect on the press would be to ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œbolster the forces of conservatism that are attempting to control content considered to be indecent or immoral,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â says Jane Duncan, director of the Freedom of Expression Institute.
The ANC deputy president is seen as holding conservative moral views. But ZumaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s rise ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â which has been a rejection of centralised power ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â may also present opportunities.
Duncan say these include the potential for Parliament to reclaim greater authority, and a weaning of the public broadcaster from political manipulation.
Debate at the ANCÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s conference is likely to centre on aspects of a discussion paper titled Communications and the Battle of Ideas. The paper flowed from the partyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s June policy conference.
Projecting what one analyst described as a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œfeeling of embattlementÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â, the paper describes South African media as largely unrepresentative and inadequately regulated. Countering the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œideological offensiveÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â driven mainly by the opposition and individuals in the mainstream media is seen as an imperative.
The ANCÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s primary intention is to fast-track the present ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œslow pacedÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â transformation as well as countering ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œmarket fundamentalismÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â that the party says is bent on retaining ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œold apartheid economic and social relationsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
It bemoans the lack of skills to analyse SAÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s social transformation and the dearth of investment in ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œdevelopment journalismÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â by the profit-driven private media.
Click here to read the full analysis, posted on Business Day's website.