The ANC is calling on parliament to accelerate the implementation of the resolution for the establishment of a media appeals tribunal following the suspension of The Citizen editor Steve Motale, it said in a statement.
“It is starkly clear that the people of South Africa can no longer rely on the system of co-regulation of the media when even the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) recognises and remains toothless to deal with the challenge, in their own words, that editors must be afforded the independence to do their work without any interference or unnecessary, or undue pressure as in the case of Steve Motale,” ANC national spokesman Zizi Kodwa said.
He said Motale’s suspension symbolised the debate about the lack of transformation within print media in particular.
“This is a historical debate and one which will be unresolved for as long as there are, within society and the media itself, defenders of a system that is untransformed in terms of ownership, control and management.”
The ANC said it condemns interference in the functioning of newsrooms and the stifling of editorial independence “to drive predetermined agendas”.
“Honesty, accountability, fairness and editorial independence are meant to be hallmarks of our media. However, it is increasingly clear that certain sections of the media continue to adopt anti-transformation stances and remain unaccountable to the general public.”
Motale was suspended three weeks ago. He said he could not comment on the reasons for his suspension until a disciplinary hearing was conducted.
Earlier on Wednesday, a handful of people representing the editors’ forum, the Communication Workers’ Union, the Patriotic Alliance, Black First Land First, Cosatu and other unions protested at The Citizen’s Johannesburg offices in support of Motale.