Government and the media have renewed their commitment
to strengthening their relationship while promoting an environment for a free and thriving media.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa recently met with a high-level delegation of senior editors from the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF)
to discuss various issues affecting government and the media. The meeting, held at the Presidential Guest House in Pretoria,
was also attended by senior government officials, as well as industry experts and commentators.
Also present at the meeting were Ministers Jeff Radebe, Nomvula Mokonyane, Siyabonga Cwele, and Deputy Ministers Hlengiwe Mkhize, John Jeffery and Obed Bapela.
In a joint communique read at the end of the meeting, the parties agreed that a free and thriving media was crucial to scrutinise
the actions and policies of government with the ability and balance to commend success and highlight shortcomings.
The meeting also received a report by the Press Council
on the media industry’s system of voluntary independent co-regulation Government editors
to deal with media consumers’ or sources’ complaints about coverage they consider problematic.
The Press Council’s mandate is being broadened to deal with online publications as well.
SANEF assured government of the media’s commitment to the success of the country Government editors
and South Africa’s status and development as a constitutional democracy.
Main issues affecting the media In its presentation, SANEF identified critical issues within the South African media sector.
These included declining revenues and profits, resulting in cost-cutting, restructuring, jobs and skills losses.
Other issues of concern to SANEF included planned parliamentary hearings on the desirability of a Media Appeals Tribunal and the pending Protection of State Information Bill.
SANEF welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s stated assurances that hearings will take into account constitutional provisions on free speech and free media.
SANEF also reported on developments and innovation in the training of journalists and discussions with the judiciary
and the police to enhance the way the media covers the courts and the fight against crime.
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