Press Council of South Africa Annual General Meeting – August 6, 2019
Threats of violence through social media are intended to undermine media freedom and aggrieved members of the public and politicians should use existing channels to lodge complaints, the Press Council of South Africa noted at its Annual General meeting yesterday (Wednesday).
Executive Director Latiefa Mobara said in her report to Council that adherence to the Press Code and the Council’s mediation and adjudication mechanisms will protect the media “when our media freedom is threatened and when the credibility and trust of our newsrooms are being eroded by the peddlers of misinformation and disinformation”.
She added: “In recent weeks we have seen tweets about senior and seasoned journalists who are allegedly part of a cabal.” She urged the public to use the Council processes to resolve their disputes with the media.
The Press Council unanimously elected Amina Frense, media freedom activist, as its Deputy Chair of the Council. Frense replaces the late Raymond Louw, long serving member of the Council and Deputy Chair, who died recently.
The Press Council announced that the Press Code has been translated into isiZulu and Afrikaans, and that these will be posted on the website soon and will improve access to the Press Council’s processes.
In a review of its activities, the Council heard that 533 complaints, up from 499 in the previous year, had been received in 2018.
In her fourth month as Press Ombud, Pippa Green had issued seven rulings, which are available on the Press Council’s website, www.presscouncil.org.za. She found in favour of complainants in three matters, and three in favour of the media. The last ruling was partially in favour of the complainant but most of his complaints were dismissed.
Of concern to both the Public Advocate and the Press Ombud is the increase in the number of complaints where the complaint was about publications’ failures to provide a right of reply to subjects of reportage. This was a matter to be addressed with the media through training workshops over the next financial year.
Issued by: Latiefa Mobara, executive director of the Press Council