as it is part of our constitutional mandate and government
providers in protecting consumers and children against sexual
agenda. Further, we believe that there is room for the media
content, hate speech and racism contained in user-generated
and government to engage around a common vision for South
content. It must be stressed that the bill is not aimed at gagging
Africa and the role that media plays within this.
the internet in the country.
We also believe that there is room for deeper and more
Meanwhile, work is also at an advanced stage regarding
meaningful coverage of our exciting developmental journey.
the finalisation of the broadcasting policy review process.
In addition, more media should publish and air material in
Among other things, the policy aims to create a level playing
local and African languages to reach a broader readership and
field for emerging audio-visual media services. It also aims to
listenership. But coverage should never be at the expense of
protect and empower consumers, in particular, to guarantee
the media’s role as a watchdog.
key societal values for the protection of minors and human
To support the transformation of the sector, the Department of Trade and Industry in April gazetted the Marketing, Advertising and Communications (MAC) Sector B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice. Among other things the codes aim to increase black ownership to 45 percent by the end of March 2018. They also stipulate
dignity, and promoting the rights of visually and or hearing impaired persons. It also aims to promote local content to support social cohesion and nation building and safeguard media diversity, pluralism, freedom of expression and information.
that black women should hold 25 percent of executive board
positions and 30 percent of executive and senior management
I must also commend the departments on doing well to
achieve a clean audit for the 2015/16 financial year.
Companies have a two-year window period that started on
Notably, the Department of Communication's clean audit was
April 1 to deliver against their business’ transformation plans.
achieved without the use of a single consultant in the past
They will then be required to submit themselves for annual
financial year and despite funding constraints, which have
verification against the new codes.
limited staff to 65 employees (far from the 400 described in our
Government will use its sizeable spending in the advertising
organogram). Instead, many employees worked extra hours
and communication space to support the implementation of
beyond the call of duty, while many staff from GCIS also lent
the codes, which will be monitored by the MAC Sector Council.
Through the State Owned Enterprises Communicators
In all, the department achieved 63 percent, or 52 of the 82
Association, representing over 700 state entities and agencies,
targets set for 2015/16, and staff are implementing several
we will begin a process to affirm compliant companies through
measures to address the auditor-general’s previous concerns
the communications supply chain. We encourage companies
GCIS also obtained its second consecutive clean audit. I
that want to do business with the government and its entities
applaud the department’s unwavering determination to
to meet the commitments inscribed in the codes.
provide relevant, accurate and timeous information to the
Films and Publications Amendment Bill
South African public.
In early 2016 the Portfolio Committee on Communications
okayed the Films and Publications Amendment Bill and agreed
Finally, it is important to note that media freedom in South
to take the bill for public consultation across the country.
Africa is not in decline. The country is still blessed with a free
The bill seeks to align South Africa with international best practice on matters regarding the regulation of distribution of online content. It further seeks to strengthen efforts to combat the online distribution of illegal content as defined in the Films and Publications Act of 1996. It also seeks to increase the responsibilities of internet service
Public Sector Manager • December 2016 / January 2017
press, where the safety of journalists is guaranteed. Journalists can still report without fear or favour. There is no journalist who is in jail for doing his or her work. We encourage the media to continue to play a vital role in our democracy. A free media is an essential partner in strengthening any democracy.