ANC pushes for probe into feasibility of media appeals tribunal

It appears ANC members want finality on whether media in SA should be allowed to self-regulate or not.

FILE: Jackson Mthembu hugs Baleka Mbete ahead of the announcement of the ANC's new top 6 on 18 December 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN .

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) delegates at the party’s national conference at Nasrec are calling for a parliamentary probe into the feasibility of a media appeals tribunal as a matter of urgency.

This issue has been on the governing party’s agenda for several years and it appears ANC members want finality on whether media in South Africa should be allowed to self-regulate or not.

This is according to Jackson Mthembu, an ANC MP and chairperson of the party’s communications sub-committee.

He was briefing journalists on the outcomes of their deliberations.

It’s not the first time that the ANC has called for a parliamentary investigation into whether South Africa needs a media appeals tribunal.

Mthembu says delegates expect him to ensure this happens.

“In fact, the conference was angry that we’ve not implemented our resolution on media appeals tribunal because if we’d had a parliamentary inquiry, we’d be sitting here knowing the outcome of that inquiry.”

The idea of a media appeals tribunal was first touted back in 2010, with fierce criticism of this proposal coming from the media fraternity.

Former ANC President Jacob Zuma, a strong critic of the press in recent years, has himself pushed for a media appeals tribunal, saying the media was incapable of regulating itself.

Mthembu also spoke about another ANC policy that has yet to be implemented: the digital migration project.

The move from analogue to digital was supposed to happen in June 2015. Delegates have set a new deadline of 2019.