This story is a couple of months old in its most recent form, but in fact 3 years old since its inception at the 2007 ANC party conferance. Since it came back on the radar two months ago the ANC has upped its efforts to introduce legislation that will allow government ministers to deem what information is secret within their respective administrative spheres. It will then allow a government appointed body to deem whether the media are guilty of a breach of confidence or mal-practice in reporting that 'protected' information:
Press freedom will be first casualty of ANC's new law - The Irish Times - Fri, Aug 27, 2010
The information that may be deemed illegal to publish will apparently include departmental financial information. In a country where the ruling ANC is accused of massive corruption that is not a good thing. It amounts to prosecuting those who point out illegality and corruption within the government. And on top of that the power to deem who is to be prosecuted and on what grounds is granted to those accused of corruption (?). Seriously.
The story came to my attention today on Al Jazeera where ANC party spokesman Ishmael Mnisi made some unusual claims. Firstly he claimed that the existing independent Media Ombudsman was unacceptable as it was paid for by the media itself. However he then cited the fact that the Press Ombudsman upheld 64% of complaints as proof there was a problem. The Independant Press Ombudsmans findings of 64% of complaints should be upheld is not proof the office of Ombudsman is not working, rather the opposite in fact.
So on the basis that the independant Press Ombudman is doing its job, the ANC is proposing that a government appointed tribunal replace that office and have the power to imprison journalists and impose heavy fines as dictated by parameters set out by ANC government ministers. Pardon me but... bloody hell.
This legislation was proposed back at the 2007 ANC conferance. But it is back with a vengence on the agenda after a series of embaressing media revelations about ANC and governmental corruption.
And who comes to the rescue? Well that seems a further suprise, but actually it is sadly predictable in fact. It is the young 'me wannbe Mugabe' Jacob Malema who is behind this latest push to both abolish the independant Ombudsman and Press freedom and replace it with an ANC appointed body and state(ANC) censorship. Hardly a suprise given that there is alot of questions around the lifestyle and income of the ANCs enfante terrible Jacob Malema.
This from earlier in August regarding Malemas new push to copperfasten corruption and power within the ANC through destroying press freedom:
ANC stance on media tribunal still the same: spokesman - Times LIVE
But apart from himself who is he trying to protect and please? What was a wild lunge for party popularity by Malema has now been translated into a serious ANC proposal to enact anti-Press legislation. What a clever little sh*t Mr. Malema is eh?
At the recent party conferance Jacob Zuma made a statement telling young ANC members, looking at Malema, to bide their time and respect their elders. It seems though that the rising star of Malema, who is only ANC youth leader remember, is rapidly eclypsing Zuma with his appeal to the corrupt and powerful within the ANC.
Malema holds out the promise of unbridled corruption, the expansion of an ANC kleptocrasy, promotion of race hate and reintroduciton of violence into South African politics. Yet he is being embraced and seems unstoppable.
The indications are that Freedom of the Press in South Africa is about to become a thing of the past. So long Rainbow nation, hello Mugabetopia.