The ANC were notably absent from this week’s Press Council public hearings. Having called for reform of the Council, and having welcomed the Council’s move to open up a public debate, the ANC did not make any submissions and did not even send anyone along to listen. They could not be bothered to show even perfunctory interest.
It is an act of bad faith that calls into question the organisation’s motivations for its attacks on the printed media’s self-regulatory system.
When this debate began, the ANC did not call for change to the Press Council system, nor did they suggest reforms which might improve it. They called instead for an end to self-regulation and the imposition of a statutory appeals tribunal. They were accused of wanting to control the media and contain its freedom to criticise and investigate.
Shunning the Press Council’s debate about how it can improve its operation signals that this is not what the ANC is interested in, and supports the view that it wants control. If it were changes and imprvovements they were looking for, then they would be at the hearings making suggestions and proposals and engaging in debate over alternatives.
Not to even pitch to hear the discussion is an act of chilling arrogance.