Zuma hits out at media

President Jacob Zuma stopped short of calling media owners unpatriotic.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma in parliament. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Powerful media owners and their commercial interests dictate how stories get told in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.

He made the comments while speaking to journalism students from the Tshwane University of Technology in Parliament, Cape Town.

The president said these interests don't always coincide with the needs of the country or its people.

Zuma stopped short of calling media owners unpatriotic.

"When in South Africa, every morning you feel like you must leave this country because the reporting concentrates on the opposite of positive."

He says newspapers are run as businesses and their desire for profits leads to stories being tailored in a way that sell copies.

Zuma says this is not beneficial to the country.

At the same time, the president is expected to sign into law the controversial Protection of State Information Bill.

A number of civil society groups and opposition parties claim the so-called secrecy bill could stifle media freedom by preventing the press form reporting on certain issues.

The bill could also result in the prosecution of whistleblowers.

Groups vowed to take the matter to the Constitutional Court if Zuma signs the bill into law.