African Media Barometer (AMB) South Africa 2013

TitleAfrican Media Barometer (AMB) South Africa 2013
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2013
Institutionfesmedia Africa - Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)

South Africa, despite ratifying most regional and international agreements on freedom of expression, freedom of the press and access to information, and protecting these rights in a constitution lauded as one of the world’ most progressive, has an increasingly volatile media environment. A painting entitled ‘The Spear’, depicting South Africa’s incumbent president with exposed genitals, caused a national uproar on the limitations to the right of freedom of expression. Government invoked the apartheid-era National Key Points Act to prevent investigation of the controversial multimillion rand upgrade of  President Zuma’s Nkandla homestead. The Protection of State Information Bill was passed by Parliament in April 2013. This so-called ‘Secrecy Bill’ faces severe criticism from civil society organisations, and with no provision of a ‘public interest defense’ for journalists, the threat of prosecution could have a chilling effect on the media. The public broadcaster, SABC, is riddled with political interference and other problems, and in March 2013 another SABC board resigned en masse, the second collapse within five years. High journalistic standards remain in South Africa, and the recent threat of the ruling party to introduce a statutory media appeals tribunal has served to revitalise the debate on the ethics of reporting and self-regulation (as seen in the revised Press Code). The passing by the ANC-dominated parliament of the Protection of State Information Bill indicates a worrying trend in government-media relations. With lobbying efforts left to very few urban groups, there is need to upscale advocacy campaigns on freedom of expression, freedom of the press and access to information in South Africa, in order to enhance public awareness and buy-in at the grassroots level. Download The African Media Barometer (AMB) identifies and analyses the shortcomings and best practices in the legal as well as practical media environment of different African countries. Using a variety of African documents as a benchmark, the AMB can serve as a tool to lobby for media reform. AMBs of other countries

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