TWO quite alarming headlines appeared in this week’s Sunday Times.
The first read “ANC wants media to be controlled” while the second read “Press ’enemy of the people’ — SABC”.
The first story threw light on the conclusions of a commission at the ANC’s policy conference in July, which wants the party to review its policies in the media at its December conference.
In short, the commission wants a review of the adequacy of media self-regulation; it wants an investigation on whether remedial measures are necessary to promote the constitutional right to dignity and privacy; and it wonders aloud about “The need or otherwise for a media tribunal to address these matters”.
The report is under discussion by party branches.
The second story reports on the decision by the SABC to withdraw from the South African National Editors Forum after its defence of the Sunday Times exposes on the drinking and thieving of the Health Minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.
In a letter announcing the decision, the SABC’s boss, Dali Mpofu said: “We cannot remain quiet while our mothers and democratically chosen leaders are stripped naked for the sole reason of selling newspapers.”
Leaving aside the matter of whether or not Mpofu is the right man to publicly discuss the “stripping naked” of mothers of the nation, it is an extraordinary statement.
Curiously, neither the ANC nor Mpofu appeared to be the slightest bit ruffled when graphic descriptions of the ANC’s deputy president stripping naked, having unprotected sex, showering and the like were aired.
The SABC worked overtime to bring the latest sordid details to the nation.
There’s a saying used to describe a boxer with a glass jaw, which captures this mood: “They can give it, but they can’t take it.”