Saturday, August 7, 2010
Zuma must call wayward cadres off the media
Aug 6, 2010 1:15 AM | By The Editor, The Times Newspaper
The Times Editorial: President Jacob Zuma and his Cabinet seem to have finally woken up to the grievous harm caused to the country by recent actions of the ruling party and state agencies against the media.
President Jacob Zuma
Photograph by: .
Wa Afrika freed on R5 000 bail
Wa Afrika quizzed about unpublished story
Cabinet spokesman Themba Maseko revealed yesterday that, on his return from his state visit to Russia, Zuma will seek a meeting with media owners and editors to discuss fears that government is on a drive to muzzle the press.
Maseko said the meeting, which will also be attended by ministers, will discuss all the issues that have worried journalists and the public at large about the future of the freedom of the press in this country.
These include the arrest of Sunday Times journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika, the controversial Protection of Information Bill and the ANC's plans for the establishment of a media tribunal that would regulate print media.
It was encouraging to hear Maseko acknowledging that these developments have contributed to the creation of "a climate where a perception could emerge that there is a government plan" to censor journalists.
"I just want to make it very clear that there isn't such a plan on the part of government," he assured the public.
While the proposed meeting should be welcomed, questions should be asked as to why Zuma has allowed things to deteriorate so terribly over the past few months.
Despite his past assurances that media freedom and other constitutional rights will not be trampled upon under his administration, Zuma has uttered no word of objection as his party's foot soldiers - in the national Parliament, the Youth League and now the police - sought to intimidate journalists from doing their work.
The president can easily rescue the country from the current atmosphere by calling his wayward cadres to order.
Comments by Sonny
Mr President the ice is melting fast!