This research report, produced by Dr Julie Reid and Taryn Isaacs, originally appeared on mediaanddemocracy.com.
“A national conversation on the effectiveness and functionality of the accountability mechanism for the press in South Africa initiated in 2007, reignited in 2010 and has sporadically continued until the current time in 2015. At various times and on various platforms, different engagers in this debate have posed several different questions about the functionality of the Press Council system, its efficacy and its appropriateness for South Africa. Little of this discourse is however, based on empirical and/or scientific evidence, study or fact. Most of it is based on estimation, sometimes political interest, personal motivations, conjecture or even myth. As such, the Media Policy & Democracy Project collated a list of commonly posed key questions, and developed a set of research categories in order to investigate each, so that each key question could be measured, with regard to its validity or invalidity, against fact and statistical analysis. This report involves a detailed assessment of the performance of the Press Council of South Africa over a five year period, a critical analysis of the outcomes of the Press Freedom Commission, and explains the relevance of these findings to the related political discourses surrounding press regulation in South Africa.
For more information or comment about this report, contact Dr Julie Reid: email@example.com