Media Monday Bulletin: Was ANC Policy Conference unpacked?; Independent up for sale; MMA invites you

Posted: 16 July 2012 | News - Newsletter | Categories: Children, Democracy and Governance, Media Freedom and Performance

On the menu this Media Monday:

·         Have the media unpacked ANC Policy Conference issues?

·         The Independent Group sale – where to from here?

·         INVITE: Media Monitoring Africa launches two reports and a website

ANC Policy Conference: have issues been fully unpacked?

The African National Congress (ANC)’s Policy Conference has come and gone, and while some of us probably have a good idea of what it was about, many of us still have no clue what the conference was about. Weeks after the Conference ended, do you know what it was about, what issues were on the table for discussion, and what resolutions came out of those discussions?

We mentioned in our Bulletin two weeks ago about communication issues with regard to the conference; whether the ANC was just not communicating with the media or the media maybe choosing to focus on other issues of the conference other than pertinent stuff. We noted how articles about violence and fist-fighting at the conference were published by some media instead of focusing on real issues of the conference that affect your lives. We then asked: where were the real issues?

We noted in the same Bulletin that the media was of course barred from most of the sessions of the conference so maybe it was not the media’s fault that not much of the information was coming through. Maybe it was the ANC’s fault then; the lack of communication that is, of what went on behind closed doors.

A few weeks later it is still not quite clear what was talked about and what was decided upon on various issues? Is it because the ANC has still not decided to communicate to the public what policy decisions were reached at the conference? Or is it the media’s fault? Have the media tried to unpack the conference for you and tell you what it is was about, what decisions were reached, what was agreed upon, and what those decisions mean for your life?

Share your thoughts with us via our Facebook and Twitter platforms...

What should happen to Independent Group’s titles?

This year issues of media transformation, diversity, and freedom have hogged the headlines as the biggest news in South Africa. Last week, it was the reported bid by Mvelaphanda to take over Avusa Media which also became the talk of the town. But the biggest news about the media industry thus far is undoubtedly the announcement that SA’s largest newspaper group, The Independent News and Media Group, is up for sale.

The biggest question is; what will happen to the newspaper titles under this group? Industry experts and those interested in SA’s media game are throwing suggestions left, right and centre. Speculation is that businessmen, some with political connections, are being tipped as bidders to take over the operations of the group.

But from the sound of it, many want the group broken up at the point of sale and have its newspaper titles sold separately instead of having the group sold as is. The South African Communist Party (SACP)’s general secretary, Blade Nzimande, is one of them. Nzimande said the “stable should be broken up and not sold to a single owner in order to improve media diversity.”

Anton Harber, Caxton professor of journalism at Wits University, also sees the sale as a great opportunity to break up the group and have titles such the Cape Times become independent voices. Harber said selling the Cape Times on its own would also help build diversity in SA’s media industry.

Business Day’s Peter Bruce also holds the same view, first off calling the news of the Independent’s newspaper titles being up for sale “the best thing that’s happened to my industry in decades.” Bruce then pointed to the unity shown by many to the proposition that the group be broken down and have its titles sold off individually or, at least, in smaller groups. That was, of course, before putting up a challenge to “Blade Nzimande, Jimmy Manyi and all the other bigmouths who go on about media diversity to put some money where their mouths are”, to buy the newspapers.

What, in your view, should happen to the Independent Group? Who should buy it or who should ideally resume the control of this newspaper giant, and why? Should it be broken down and have titles sold off separately as has been suggested? Should it be sold off as it is and not broken down? What do you think? Send us your views on Facebook and Twitter...

Media Monitoring Africa invites you to report and website launch

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is launching its latest research on Reporting on Children as well as the Children’s News Agency (CNA) website, and invites you to be part of it! Find out how the media performed and which media performed the best. Is the coverage of children getting any better? Is there something to be glad about? At the same time, come and meet some MMA’s very own child journalists as they launch the Children’s News Agency website.

Details of the launch are as follows:

DATE:  Tuesday, 17 July 2012

TIME:   09:45 – 10:00am registration (Ends at 12:30 with snacks)

PLACE:The View, 18 Ridge Road, Parktown, Johannesburg, Gauteng - Entry across the road from Parklane Clinic.

The launch will see the release two reports: “Reporting on Children: Is the coverage getting any better(S.A)?” and “Something to be glad about? Coverage of Children in South African and Zambian Media” - one focused on South Africa and another focused on South Africa and Zambia. The Children’s News Agency website will also be launched in an effort to actively involve children in the enhancement of their participation and voices in the media.

Be there and be a witness to this great event, or alternatively follow the launch via Twitter by following @U18MattersZA, @MMA_tweeter and @MediaMattersZA on Hashtag: #MMALaunch.