Anc sees no wrong in fbj

Ido Lekota

Ido Lekota

The ANC sees nothing wrong in black journalists coming together to discuss their issues of concern, especially around racism.

Yesterday ANC spokesman Jessie Duarte said the party had more than a week ago decided that its president Jacob Zuma should go and address the meeting of the exclusively black members Forum of Black Journalists (FBJ), held at the Sandton Sun .

Duarte also rejected the argument by white journalists who have complained to the Human Rights Commission, accusing the FBJ of racism.

Duarte was addressing media practitioners and members of the public at a forum where the manner in which the media deals with racism was discussed.

She said there was nothing wrong for black journalists to come together and, as a group, approach the other interested party about issues they felt still disadvantaged them as professionals.

Today, the HRC is to hold public hearings on whether - 14 years into democracy - South Africa still needed organisations like the FBJ.

As a facilitator of yesterday's discussion, press ombudsman Joe Thloloe asked whether "there was anything wrong with victims of apartheid coming together to caucus about how far the country had gone in terms of eradicating racism".

Ed Said from e-tv said such a racially-exclusive coming together undermined the building of a non-racial South Africa.

In terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, the FBJ will today have to prove that their action was not discriminatory on the basis of race, and therefore against the Constitution.

The FBJ will also have to convince the HRC that what they did was not unfair discrimination but part of its members' attempt to confront the realities of racism and to redress the situation.

Commentators who have come out in support of the FBJ have argued that part of South Africa's problem was that black people are not supposed to confront issues of racism.

When they do so, for example by caucusing on their own, they are called racist.