press freedom

NGO Welcomes City Press Ruling

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) has welcomed a High Court ruling that the refusal by three companies to give City Press newspaper access to its share registers was criminal.
 
In a press statement, the organisation has described the ruling as important because it confirms legal provisions for providing access to information and increases transparency in the conduct of affairs in the country in terms of the Constitution.
 

Govt, SANEF, Agree to Work Together

Government and the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) have committed to working together to improve the country's performance and to amend laws that restrict the flow of information.

Government said it will make information readily available so that the media can inform the public and empower them to hold it accountable.

SANEF called on government to repeal or amend apartheid-era laws that are still in force and which, in SANEF’s view, unjustifiably restricted the free flow of information.

Mail & Guardian Did Not Break Law: R2K

The Right To Know (R2K) says that The Mail & Guardian did not break the law by publishing parts of NPA transcripts.

The organisation has been quoted as saying that, "First, it is not clear how the M&G has broken the law. Section 41(6) of the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] Act prevents disclosure of investigatory material, not its mere possession.”

Secrecy Bill to Limit Media Freedom

According to a survey released by market research company, Ipsos, almost half of South Africans say the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill) will limit media freedom.

In a press statement, Ipsos points out that, “Forty-four percent of South Africans believe that the proposed information bill will limit media freedom."

It says that 13 percent of respondents said the proposed legislation will not limit media freedom, adding that a third – 29 percent - were neutral, and 14 percent of those surveyed had no opinion.

State Security Rejects Secrecy Bill Amendments

The Department of State Security has disagreed with a swathe of amendments to the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill) made by the National Council of Provinces’ ad hoc committee.

Acting director-general in the department, Dennis Dhlomo, who went through the suggestions of the committee and tried to persuade the NCOP that they should not be included in the Bill, says the reason national security was broadly defined is to create the space to respond quickly to developing threats against the state.

Ncube Awarded for Press Freedom Contribution

The Zimbabwean chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has recognised Mail & Guardian owner, Trevor Ncube, for his contribution to press freedom in Zimbabwe.

MISA Zimbabwe’s senior programmes officer, Nyasha Nyahuku, says that the organisation presented Ncube with the award for his role in providing Zimbabweans with alternative platforms for critical, alternative views on social, economic and political issues.

Media Transformation Too Slow, Says R2K

The Right2Know (R2K) Campaign has announced that it will meet with Parliament's media transformation indaba to discuss ownership, staff and content.

In a press statement, R2K spokesperson, Julie Reid, points out that, “We will continue to argue that the definition of transformation must move beyond race and gender profiles in ownership."

"We should not have to choose between media beholden to political interests and media that are beholden to corporate interests. We need more media, not less; more voices, not fewer," explains Reid.

SA Media in Uncertain Position

Khulekani Magubane, in an article titled ‘SA’s low press freedom rank ‘unfair’, says that on World Press Freedom Day, celebrated globally on 3 May, South African media remain in an uncertain position.

Magubane argues that although the African National Congress (ANC) gave a warm reception to the Press Freedom Commission (PFC) report on media regulation released last week, the proposed Media Appeals Tribunal and the Protection of State Information Bill remain contentious issues.

World Press Freedom Day Commemorated

South Africa commemorated the World Press Freedom Day and 18 years of democracy.

However, the proposed Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill), which is widely criticised for its failure to protect whistle-blowers, means that freedom of the press remains a talking point.

The South African National Editors Forum’s (SANEF) Nick Dawes, points out that the role of a free press is crucial for our democracy, adding that there are some warning lights flashing that the quality for that environment and the room in which operate, may diminish if we are not careful.

New Report Focuses on Press Freedom

The Press Freedom Commission has recommended a new regulatory regime for newspapers involving more public participation and a hierarchy of increasingly stringent penalties for ‘journalistic infractions’ culminating in space-related and monetary fines.

Print Media South Africa (PMSA) and the South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF), which mandated the research, are expected to accept most of its recommendations.

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