Resources - Submissions

Submissions reflect Media Monitoring Africa's attempts to ensure that media policies and codes are in line with South Africa's constitution.

Submission to the Press Freedom Commission: regulation of print media

Media Monitoring Africa responded to a call for submission by the Press Freedom Commission (PFC) (15 December 2011) on the Regulation of Print Media in South Africa.

MMA supports more independent self regulation. By definition self regulation refers to a peer review system operating within a set of self- imposed rules by the media. It consists of representatives from the media profession passing judgement of complicated matters of journalistic reporting using a Journalistic Code of Ethics which is applied in determining the final ruling , and benchmarking the generally accepted norms and standards.

Strengthening the Press Code

MMA made its submission at thefirst of South Africa’s Public Hearings into its reviews process. MMA wants the Press Council to address:

• Lack of knowledge both on the part of the general public
• Challenges arising out of the self-regulatory nature of the system and the legal enforceability of the decisions
• Independence of the Press Council
• Lack of clarity in relation to financial arrangements;
• The relief available to successful complainants;
• Making the procedure more informal, speedy, cost-effective, open and transparent.

A South African First: Child Media Monitors present at Press Council Public Hearings

For the first time children have made an oral and written submission to the Press Council as part of its current review process. The Press Council of South Africa began the review of its system in its series of public hearings this morning (Thursday 17th February 2011).

Eugene Terre’blanche Murder Trial: Media Applications

The Child Justice Act came in to law on 1 April 2010, and the Eugene Terre’blanche murder trial, where one of the accused is a minor, is the first high profile case in which media outlets have applied to be present at a sitting of a ‘child justice court”.

In response Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) has made an application as a friend of the Court.

Presentation to Communication Ministry’s Public Hearings on the Public Service Broadcasting Bill

Media Monitoring Africa raised concerns about elements of the draft Public Service Broadcasting Bill during the Communication Ministry’s public hearings.

MMA argues that the Bill in its current form will give the Minister too much power and won’t solve the problems dogging SABC.

Strengthening the Press Code

This document forms part of the submission by Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) to the South African Press Council as part of a review process aimed at improving the current self-regulatory system.

This section deals with shortcomings in the Press Code.

MMA believes the following areas need to be addressed:

• Overall framing of the code;
• Minimising harm;
• Children;
• The public interest; and
• Discouraging “brown envelope journalism”.

Submission to Department of Communications (DOC) on the ICASA Amendment Bill

Media Monitoring Africa registers its concern over the relatively short time period for submissions. Given the importance and scope of the Bill, not just in terms of the issues it seeks to change but also that if implemented it would impact every person in South Africa, and given that there has not yet been a policy review process we believe the short period has prevented:

- Proper, broad-based meaningful consultation with members of the public
- In-depth debate and discussion on the various changes
- The development of clear alternatives to some of the issues provided.

The move by the Department of Communications to amend the policy governing ICASA is an exciting and invigorating moment for South Africa. It is of fundamental importance to ensure that all South Africans participate in shaping our “independent” regulator’s future. Especially given the history of its formation, and creation as critical to democracy and media independence. In addition, the role of “independent” regulation in this new digital era is critical to ensuring that all citizen’s needs are catered for, and not just a select few, with higher LSM’s for instance.

MMA response to the Public Broadcasting Bill

MMA submission on the Public Broadcasting Bill expresses deep concern about many of the aspects of the Bill, including its economic viability and constitutionality. The response requested more research into the viability of the Bill.

Key areas of concern addressed in the submission are:
- The funding model seems to be inadequate, and it is unclear whether sufficient research has been done on the feasibility and economic impact of the proposed change in funding.
- The Minister’s of Communications’ powers in the proposed Bill, which undermine the independence of the SABC itself, as well as the democratic role of Parliament.
- Legal issues, such as the need to amend several laws, such as the SABC charter changing, the mandate of the Media Diversity and Development Agency (MDDA) and aspects of the Constitution, and the.
- The lack of proper consultation, and far too limited time to do proper research by stakeholders; since the Bill is a complete overhaul of existing legislation, a two month period, over the December holidays, and lack of clear communication by the Department itself, does not constitute proper consultation

Local and Digital Content Development Strategy for South Africa

This submission addresses the following areas:
1. MMA’s Constitutional Assumptions.
2. The relationship with the MMA and the Save our SABC (SOS)-Reclaiming our Public Broadcaster Coalition.
3. Areas of concern relating to the Local and Digital Development Strategy.
4. Summary of recommendations

Draft Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Regulations Submission

This submission addresses the following areas:
1. MMA’s Constitutional Assumptions.
2. The relationship with the MMA and the Save our SABC (SOS)-Reclaiming our Public Broadcaster Coalition.
3. MMA’s basic assumptions of digitalisation.
4. Areas of concern relating to the draft regulations.
5. Summary of recommendations.
6. Conclusion.

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