News / Africa

Critics Slam Plan to License South Africa Reporters

(File) Journalists report from outside the former South African President Nelson Mandela's house,  in Johannesburg, South Africa Monday, Sept. 2, 2013.
(File) Journalists report from outside the former South African President Nelson Mandela's house, in Johannesburg, South Africa Monday, Sept. 2, 2013.
Anita Powell

A plan to license reporters in South Africa is being condemned by journalist groups.

The new chief of South Africa’s public broadcaster, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, had already raised the ire of many South Africans for claiming to have a high school diploma, called a matric, which he does not.

Now he's further raised hackles by demanding that journalists in Africa’s most established and boisterous media landscape be licensed to practice.

Motsoeneng says media licensing is necessary because some journalists are “lazy,” make up facts, and are not objective. He did not give specific examples.

He also says South African journalists too often miss what he described as “good news” about the government’s efforts to improve the lives of South Africans. He says he will make a formal submission on this idea to the nation’s communications minister.

Unsurprisingly, the pronouncement has been met with met with derision by journalists, professionals who are paid to ask and say what most people are too afraid, or embarrassed, to ask and say.

South Africa’s National Editors’ Forum has condemned the proposal and criticized Motsoeneng for what it calls his “ignorance of journalistic practice."

On Tuesday, the International Committee to Protect Journalists joined the fray, saying South African journalists have earned the right to report freely after decades of oppression and censorship under apartheid.  

“We are very concerned that the head of the public broadcaster is thinking in terms of licensing journalists," said CPJ’s Africa Program Coordinator, Sue Valentine. "Because we believe that this not the job of the head of a public broadcaster, and also it totally takes South African press freedom, which is hard won, it takes it backwards.”

Valentine also says that Motsoeneng’s argument that doctors and lawyers are licensed should not apply to journalists. In fact, she says, his proposal flies in the face of South Africa’s constitution.

“The difference is that a doctor or a lawyer is a profession, whereas journalists deal with the issue of the fundamental human rights, of freedom of expression and the right of access to information," she said. "So the right of freedom of expression and access to information is at the heart of what journalists do, and for that reason journalists should not be licensed.”

Motsoeneng says he will stand firm by his proposal, whose fate, without a doubt, will be closely followed by journalists.  

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Comment Sorting
Comment on this forum (1)
Comments
     
by: Not Again from: Canada
July 15, 2014 4:11 PM
Very sad sit, it is very similar to the accusations made against journalists in the previous regime even the words are similar, yes the apartheid regime, which persecuted jounalists for their lack of objectivity, and great bias... No one likes to be criticized, especially those in power. What is next?---> CENSORSHIP!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid