President Jacob Zuma says amendments to the Employment Equity Act and the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act should pave the way for transformation in the print media in the country.
President Jacob Zuma calls for greater transformation of the media sector. Image: GCIS
Speaking at the launch of the Independent Newspapers and Media SA (INMSA) under new ownership in Cape Town, President Zuma said the amendments to the Employment Equity Act should encourage the industry to diversify newsrooms.
"We need a media sector that is an accurate mirror of ourselves regardless of race, colour, gender, class, creed or geographical location. A media sector that will tell the full South African story and balance the challenges we face of unemployment, inequality and poverty, with the remarkable achievements that the country has also scored," he said.
The President noted that while the broadcasting news arena was transforming, the print media sector was still lagging behind.
"With regards to ownership, the print media is still dominated by the 'big four' - Caxton, Naspers, Independent News and Media SA and the Times Media Group.
"The Print and Digital Media SA reported in 2011 that only an average of 14% of ownership of the mainstream print media is in black hands, and that women participation in board and senior management is limited to 4%."
Zuma said the sale of INMSA to the Sekunjalo Consortium was a step in the right direction and would contribute to the important national task of promoting the diversity of ownership, content, management and staffing.
"We are confident that the change in ownership will result in a more indigenous look and perspective in the content of the Independent media products nationwide," he said.
He added that the media industry itself is an economic sector and critical contributor to job creation and the national wealth, which stands at more than R3.5trn.
In the spirit of the theme of his 2014 State of the Nation Address, Zuma said South Africa had a good story to tell and the media needed to help tell these stories.
"If we do not tell this story ourselves and instead choose to be overly-critical and paint a wrong picture that our country is failing when it is not, we are doing South Africa and South Africans who work hard, a huge disservice," he said.
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Zuma said the sale of INMSA to the Sekunjalo Consortium was a step in the right direction - yeah, for Zuma as another political mouth piece.
We already have a media sector that is an accurate mirror of ourselves regardless of race, colour, gender, class, creed or geographical location. A media sector that will tell the full South African story and balance the challenges we face of unemployment, inequality and poverty, with the remarkable achievements that the country has also scored. The harsh reality is that the Zuma government doesn't have that many positive stories to tell
Secrecy Bill, New Age, Independent Newspapers... this is moving towards a very dangerous state of media affairs when government controls content... just like in apartheid times... so how is this transformation? Seems the ANC are so desperate to silence their critics that they have implemented a strategy of buying out all the media houses... thank goodness for Caxton, Media24 and Avusa who still seem to be operating with integrity and haven't succumbed to the ANC bribery. No doubt Independent Newspapers will need to change their name to something more appropriate... some suggestions include Propaganda Pty, Lapdog Ltd, ANC Times???