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Blame put in media's court

By unknown | Jan 21, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Once again the ANC has slammed the news media for allegedly being biased against the party.

Once again the ANC has slammed the news media for allegedly being biased against the party.

This has become an all too familiar accusation from the ANC, which has become increasingly frustrated with a news media it claims are hostile to it.

At the heart of the matter is the party's view that it gets a raw deal from "conservative" media, given the popular support it commands among voters.

ANC president Jacob Zuma, writing in the party's online publication ANC Today, says the news media are out of sync with the rest of society.

Zuma complains of a "void" in the media landscape "in which the voices of the majority of our people remain largely unheard".

The media, he says, act as if they were in opposition to the ruling party.

We have no problem with the president of the ANC voicing unhappiness with the conduct of the media. They come in different shapes and sizes and do not hold a monopoly on the truth.

Besides, politicians want the media to see things their way and aren't above exerting pressure where they can.

Zuma cannot be a big fan of the press, given their unflattering portrayal of him, owing largely to his own spectacular blunders.

The same could be said of far too many of the new leaders of the ruling party.

What we have a problem with are the sweeping generalisations he and the ANC make whenever they condemn the media.

We also have a problem with some aspects of the ANC's proposed solution to "the media problem".

Yes, the ANC needs "to develop its own media platforms, making use of available technology".

Few in the media will disagree with the ANC's stated goal of promoting diversity in the media and making them more accessible to the majority of the people.

But there is no need for the party's dumb idea of establishing a tribunal through which the media would be made accountable to parliament. The plan is sinister and unconstitutional.

It also raises suspicions about the party's continued commitment to freedom of speech and of a critical media.


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