Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Foul winds brewing
The ANC caucus yesterday issued a statement saying that it was "concerned" about the SA National Editors' Forum (SANEF) viewpoint on the Sunday Times vs Manto drama. SANEF had previously taken the stance that whilst the individual's right to privacy should be respected, there are times when public interest outweighs these rights.

In response, the ANC caucus stated that:
"We are concerned at the endorsement of the newspaper's crusade against the health minister by the country's forum of media leaders, as it sets worrying precedent. Essentially, the precedent that is set is that on the whims of this press principle, members of the public surrender all their rights to the mighty media."
The caucus went on to affirm media freedom was a central component of a democratic society and should be defended against those who sought to abuse it in pursuit of an agenda against individual members of the public.

It's a very fine line on both sides, and this represents a seminal moment in the media freedom landscape in South Africa. Thus far, Government has not overstepped the mark against an oft hostile media, but the coming weeks will be a stern test.