Media Tuesday Bulletin: National Key Points Act; New Sunday Times editor; And, DT2

Posted: 5 February 2013 | News - Newsletter | Categories: Democracy and Governance, Media Freedom and Performance

In the first Media Tuesday Bulletin of 2013:

·         National Key Points Act

·         Sunday Times undergoes change of editorship

·         What is DT2? Anybody knows?

National Key Points Act explained

The National Key Points Act became the talk of the town late last year after the country learned that upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence would cost R240 million of public money. The Act also became the buzzword after the recent announcement by the Public Works Minister, Thulas Nxesi, that there was no evidence that state money was spent on Nkandla.

So, what exactly is this National Key Points Act that keeps popping up and referred to? Has it been unpacked for the ordinary you and I to understand and make sense of? Has the media explained what it is and what it is about?

Consider these few articles about the Act. Constitutional law expert Pierre De Vos wrote a piece about the Act last year, in which he pointed out to sections of the Act that are unconstitutional, invalid, and outdated. The same sentiment was echoed by Chandre Gould of the Institute for Security Studies, arguing that the “absence of accountability for the decision to declare places national key points and spend public funds that means that the Act is antithetical to democratic accountability, and most probably unconstitutional”.

The Right2Know Campaign also laid bare the Act and pointed out how the Act undermines the public’s right to know. And most recently, Dario Milo and Ben Winks of Webber Wentzel commented in the Mail and Guardian newspaper about how the Act was a flimsy cover for Nkandla. The comment cited provisions of the Act on how a place may be declared a national key point, and the publication ban on information relating to a national key point which, they argue, cannot be used to keep secret the contents of the report on Nkandla spending.

Aside from these articles, is there enough explanation in the media of the Act, or is it just referred to and quoted as if everyone knows it and its contents, and what it is about? Do we blame the media for not doing so, if you feel it hasn’t been done? What’s your view?

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Winds of change at the Sunday Times

Times Media (formerly Avusa Media) announced that The Times editor, Phylicia Oppelt, will take over the reigns as editor of the group’s Sunday Times newspaper as of 1 March 2013. The paper’s current and outgoing editor, Ray Hartley, tweeted about his departure, thanking all who supported him and those who criticised.

Oppelt’s choice to take over the editorship has not only been endorsed by media experts like Anton Harber, but also by the ‘twitterverse’ who have also showed their approval of Oppelt being put at the helm at one of the country’s biggest weeklies.

A very interesting choice indeed, especially when looked at from for the country’s media transformation perspective. Oppelt will become the first (black) female editor of the Sunday Times in the newspaper’s 107-year history, and will go head-to-head with City Press’ Ferial Haffajee for the Sunday readership. Ferial also became the first Coloured woman editor of a major newspaper in South Africa.

The Print and Digital Media Transformation Hearings are currently going on, and have seen submissions by the likes of Media Monitoring Africa, among others. The Director of Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), William Bird, urged print media to take the transformation task team seriously, following concerning news about Caxton pulling out of the Print and Digital Media Transformation Task Team (PDMTTT).

Keeping in mind the pulling out of a main industry player like Caxton from the task team, is it safe to say that SA’s print media looks set to and is ready to go through some transformation processes? Is print media taking the hearings seriously? Are appointments to higher newsroom positions such as Oppelt and Haffajee’s editorships of major newspapers enough, or only a start and step in the right direction? Are we to see more such appointments?

Send us your views and tell us what you think via Facebook and Twitter...

DT2’s gonna WOW YOU! Or, is it?

You have probably seen the advertisements on SABC TV about DT2 that’s coming in 2013 and it’s gonna wow you. And you must have also heard the radio adverts as well. At first the TV ads did not go into any detail at all, except show clips of old programmes and suddenly changes to tell you about this DT2 coming soon to WOW you. As time went on, the adverts then explained a bit about new channels, better quality, and the inclusion of 24-hour news channel, etc...

There is actually a website that you can visit to read more about what DT2 is all about, with a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section that answers all your questions. But TV critic Thinus Ferreira says that the DT2 mystery is “(Y)et another new logo and name to add to the madness of South Africa's digital television migration process already frought with confusion”.

According to Thinus, DT2 is “nothing more than yet another awareness campaign - it's not a new product, and it's not a new service. The dt2 logo also adds to the clutter of the digital migration process where the "Go Digital" logo already exist (sic)”. And, yes, there is a “Go Digital” logo and a website which the Department of Communications have directed the public to, in their massive print media advertising campaign last year, even though the website was (and still is) not updated and its content is old.

And recent media reports about SA set to miss the international deadline to move from analogue TV to digital standard must be creating even more confusion. So why advertise when not only will you miss the deadline, but are not even sure when such migration will happen, and when you don’t even have an idea of what the Set-Top Boxes (STBs) will look like, and what services will they have?

Perhaps you have a much better idea of what DT2 is, and if you do, please tell us what it is on Facebook and Twitter. And if you are as confused as we are, feel free to Facebook and Tweet us your confusion as well....