The Self-Regulatory System in South Africa
There is always need for self-regulation. It is key to a democracy, media that controls and evaluates themselves means that there is no censorship from the government. The problem arises in the fact that because they regulate themselves; the councils put in place to regulate the media may be lenient towards the media. And also, because media are first and foremost corporations they are most likely to be self-serving rather than self-deprecating. Another important problem that arises in the debate of media self-regulation is marginalization of the poor. Because the media are more likely to be self-serving, they may favour the elites over the poor.
Self or peer regulation is what was present in South Africa from the 1994 elections to 2007 when the ANC proposed a Media Appeals Tribunal. Self-regulation is good in that the government is not involved in the regulation and apprehension of ethical transgressions. But, at the same time, a big problem arises in that the media are regulating themselves which is not particularly good because they are not going to be harsh on themselves.
In the document, Media transformation, Ownership and Diversity, the ANC criticises the South African media’s self-regulatory model. The fact that the media are first and foremost corporations is incredibly important. Following the recent decline in print media consumption, journalistic standards have dropped following budget cuts by the corporations. (Duncan, 2014, p. 170) Because of the former self-regulatory model, the ANC were concerned that journalists would not call each other out on lapses of ethical conduct.
Another problem with the self-regulatory model is that it funds itself. Giving media power t...
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