Quote of the week

The judgments are replete with the findings of dishonesty and mala fides against Major General Ntlemeza. These were judicial pronouncements. They therefore constitute direct evidence that Major General Ntlemeza lacks the requisite honesty, integrity and conscientiousness to occupy the position of any public office, not to mention an office as more important as that of the National Head of the DPCI, where independence, honesty and integrity are paramount to qualities. Currently no appeal lies against the findings of dishonesty and impropriety made by the Court in the judgments. Accordingly, such serious findings of fact in relation to Major General Ntlemeza, which go directly to Major General Ntlemeza’s trustworthiness, his honesty and integrity, are definitive. Until such findings are appealed against successfully they shall remain as a lapidary against Lieutenant General Ntlemeza.

Mabuse J
Helen Suzman Foundation and Another v Minister of Police and Others
24 August 2010

Media Appeals Tribunal – circa 1977

Politicsweb has puiblished a copy of a media Bill introduced in the apartheid Parliament in 1977, along with a speech of then Minister Connie Mulder and a rather amusing suggestion from James Myburgh that the present government could use the Bill as a template for its proposed Media Appeals Tribunal. Makes one think, doesn’t it?

The 1977 Newspaper Bill
23 August 2010

As introduced by the Minister of the Interior, Dr Connie Mulder, March 11 1977

[B. 82-’77]

NEWSPAPER -BILL

(As read a First Time)

(Introduced by the MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR)

BILL

To provide for the establishment of a press code; for the application of such code in such manner that the freedom of the press is upheld; for the establishment of a press council; for the functions of such press council; and for matters Connected therewith.

BE IT ENACTED by the State President, the Senate and the House of Assembly of the Republic of South Africa, as follows:-

1. There is hereby established a South African press code, which is set out in the Schedule (see below).

2. Reporting in a newspaper which does not comply with the requirements of the Press Code, shall be a contravention of the Press Code.

3. (1) The Press Code shall be applied in such a manner that the freedom of the press is recognized, but in such a manner that-

(a) the law of the Republic;
(b) freedom of worship; and
(c) the Christian view of life,
are not affected.

(2) The Press Code shall not be construed as prohibiting fair and reasonable criticism,

4. (1) There is hereby etablished a council called the Press Council; of which the members, other than the chairman and the acting chairman, shall only be appointed for the performance by the Press Council of some function which it is under it is under this Act required or empowered to perform.

(2) (a) The Press Council shall, according as the chairman of the Press Council may determine, consist of five or three. members, of whom-

(i) one shall be a judge or a retired judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa and shall be the Chairman;

(ii) one half, without taking into account the chairman, shall be persons whose names appear on the list referred to in Subsection (3) (b) (i), and one half shall be persons whose names appear on the list referred to in subsection (3) (b) (ii).

(b) The chairman and the acting chairman of the Press Council shall be appointed by the State President, and the other members of the Press Council shall be appointed by the said chairman.

(c) The chairman and the acting chairman of the Press Council shall hold office for a period of three years.

(3) (a) The State President and the Press Union shall each nominate, for a period of three years, five persons who, in the opinion of the State President or the Press Council, as the case may be, are, by virtue of their educational qualifications and skill, eligible to serve on the Press Council.

(b) The secretary shall keep-

(i) a list of the persons nominated by the State President under paragraph (a); and
(ii) a list of the persons nominated by the Press Union under the said paragraph.

(c) One of the persons nominated by the State President under paragraph (a) shall hold a judicial office o be an advocate or an attorney or a teacher of law at a university of at least ten years’ standing as such, and shall be appointed by the State President as a member of 10 the Press Council and shall act as chairman when the chairman of the Press Council is absent or unable to act.

(d) If a vacancy occurs among the persons nominated under paragraph (a), the vacancy shall be appropriately filled by the State President or the Press Union, as the case may be, for the unexpired portion of the period of three years.

(4) (a) If the Press Council for any reason fails to nominate, within the period determined by the chairman of the Press Council, the required number of persons in terms 20 of Subsection (3) (a) or (d), or ceases to exist, the said chairman shall, with due regard to the provisions of the said subsection (3) (a), nominate the required number of persons.

(b) Such nomination shall for the purposes of this Act be 25 deemed to have been made by the Press Union.

(5) The conditions of service of the members of the Press Council shall be as prescribed.

(6)(a) The administrative work connected with the performance by the Press Council of its functions shall be performed 30 by officers of the department designated by the Minister.

(b) The chairman of the Press Council shall designate one of the said officers as clerk of the Press Council.

(7) The seat of the Press Council shall be at the place determined by the Minister Provided that if by reason of the 35 existence of special circumstances it appears to the Press Council to be desirable to hold a sitting for the disposal of any particular matter at a place other than the place determined by the Minister, the Press Council may hold such sitting at such place.

(8) The chairman of the Press Council shall preside at all meetings of the Press Council at which he is present.

(9) Three members of the Press Council shall form a quorum, and the decision of a majority of the members present at a meeting of the Press Council, shall be a decision of the Press Council, and in the event of an equality of votes on any matter the person presiding at the meeting in question shall have a casting vote in addition to his deliberative vote.

(10) If any person appointed as a member of the Press Council by virtue of his nomination by the Press Council in terms of subsection (3) (a) refuses or fails to take part in the proceedings in 50 question of the Press Council, the chairman of the Press Council may appoint as a member of the Press Council in his place a person nominated by the State President in terms of the said subsection (3) (a).

(11) The Press Council may in its discretion consult any person who, in its opinion, is an expert on any matter which it is required to decide.

5 (1) Any person dissatisfied at a report in a newspaper may in writing ledge a complaint about such report with the clerk of the Press Council, specifying-

(a) the name of the newspaper in question;
(b) the date of the edition in question of the newspaper,
(c) the report being complained about; and
(d) the reasons for the dissatisfaction of the complainant at that report.

(2) A complaint referred to in subsection (1) shall be lodged with the clerk of the Press Council within twenty-one days of the date on which the report in question appeared in the newspaper in question or within such further period as the chairman of the Press Council may determine.

(3) A complaint lodged in terms of Subsection (I) shall be submitted by the clerk of the Press Council to the chairman of the Press Council.

(4) The chairman of the Press Council may direct the clerk of the Press Council to request the complainant to furnish the said clerk in writing with such further particulars of his complaint as
the said chairman may require.

(5) A complaint which in the Opinion of the chairman of the Press Council is frivolous shall not be submitted to the Press Council in terms of section 6.

(6) A complainant who lodged a complaint referred to in subsection (5) shall be informed of the decision of the chairman of 15 the Press Council in terms of the said subsection and his reasons therefor.

6. (1) The clerk of the Press Council shall, after a complaint has in terms of subsection (1) of section 5 been lodged with him or, if further particulars thereof have in terms of subsection (4) of the said section been requested, after the receipt of such further particulars, serve, in the manner contemplated in section 7 (3) (c), such complaint, or such part thereof as may have been specified by the chairman of the Press Council to be relevant, on the editor or owner of the newspaper in question.

(2) When the clerk of the Press Council serves a complaint on the editor or owner of a newspaper in terms of subsection (I) he shall inform him-

(a) that the complaint will be submitted to the Press Council for a decision whether the report in question involves a contravention of the Press Code; and

(b) that he may within fourteen days, or such shorter period not being less than twenty-four hours as the chairman of the Press Council may determine, from the time when the complaint has been served on him by the clerk of the 35 Press Council, comment in writing on the complaint.

(3) The clerk of the Press Council shall after the expiration of the period contemplated in subsection (2) (b) and on a date and at a time determined by the chairman of the Press Council submit the complaint, together with the comments (if any) of the editor or owner of the newspaper in question, as the case may be, to the Press Council for investigating and deciding whether the report in question constitutes a contravention of the Press Code.

7. (1) If a complaint has in terms of section 6 (3) been submitted to the Press Council, it shall decide whether the report in question constitutes a contravention of the Press Code-

(a) after examination of the report in question; and

(b) after consideration of-

(i) the complaint;
(ii) the comment in question contemplated in section 6 50 (2) (b) (if any);
(iii) any document produced in terms of subsection (3)

(b) of this section; and

(iv) the evidence given by a person contemplated in
subsection (3) (a) or (1) of this section. 55

(2) The chairman of the Press Council shall, subject to the other provisions of this Act, determine the procedure to be followed by the Press Council at an investigation of a complaint.

(3) (a) The complainant and the editor or owner referred to in section 6 (2) (b), or the authorised representative of the latter, may personally or by his legal representative appear before the Press Council when it considers the complaint and examine persons then giving evidence before the Press Council in relation to the complaint, and may then give evidence or, with the consent of the Press Council, personally or by his legal representative tender evidence. –

(b) The Press Council may direct any person, including the complainant or editor or owner in question or, if the latter is a juristic person, a representative of such juristic person, o appear before the Press Council to-

(i) give evidence; or

(ii) produce any document in his possession or under his control, which, in the opinion of the Press Council has a bearing on the complaint being considered by the Press Council, and may examine any such person or any person referred to in paragraph (a).

(c) Such direction shall be by way of a subpoena in the prescribed form and signed by the chairman of the Press Council and served on the person subpoenaed either by a registered letter sent through the post or by delivery by a person authorized thereto by the said chairman.

(d) When the Press Council considers it necessary to do so, 15 it may require any person appearing before it under paragraph (b) to give evidence on oath or after having made an affirmation.

(e) The chairman of the Press Council may administer an oath to, or accept an affirmation from, any person appearing before it.

(f) If in the course of the investigation it appears to the Press Council that a person, other than a person to whom a communication in terms of section 6 (2) or a direction in terms of paragraph (b) of this subsection 25 was issued, may mainly be responsible for the report in question, such person shall, in the manner contemplated in paragraph (c) of this subsection, be informed of the investigation, and the provisions of this section shall p1y in respect of him.

(g) Failure by a person referred to in section 6 (2) or paragraph (f) of this subsection to attend the investigation in question by the Press Council, shall not affect the validity of the proceedings of the Press Council.

(4) The meetings of the Press Council shall be open to members 35 of the public: Provided that the Press Council may in its discretion exclude members of the public from any particular meeting of the Press Council.

(5) The Press Council shall furnish reasons for its decisions.

(6) If the Press Council decides that the report in question 40 involves a contravention of the Press Code, the chairman of the Press Council may, after hearing any evidence tendered or any representations made (if any), administer the reprimand or impose. a penalty or issue the direction provided for in section 8.

(7) (a) The chairman of the Press Council shall cause a report to 45 be drawn up of every complaint on which the Press Council has given a decision.

(b) A report referred to in paragraph (a) shall contain-

(i) the decision of the Press Council and the reasons for the decision;

(ii) if under subsection (6) a reprimand has been administered, a penalty has been imposed or a direction has been issued, such reprimand, penalty or direction, as the case may be; and

(iii) the name of the person mainly responsible for the 55 report in question, if it is known, except when the said chairman deems it desirable in the public interest that that name be not made known.

(c) The clerk of the Press Council shall send to the complainant, the editor or owner in question and the Press Union each a copy of the report.

(8) The report referred to in subsection (7) shall be kept in the office of the clerk of the Press Council and shall be open for inspection by the public, and copies thereof shall upon application by any person and on payment of the prescribed fee be supplied to such person.

(9) The editor or owner concerned, as the case may be, shall after receipt of a copy of a report referred to in subsection (7) and without delay cause that report to be published fully in the next ensuing issue of the newspaper in question, either at such place in the newspaper as he may deem fit or, if the chairman of the Press Council has directed that it be published at some place therein, then at such place. 5

(10) Any person who contravenes subsection (9) or refuses or fails to comply with a direction under subsection (3) or who refuses to answer any question put to him under the last- mentioned subsection or gives to such a question an answer which o his knowledge is false, or refuses to take the oath or to make an affirmation at the request of the chairman of the Press Council in terms of the said subsection (3), shall be guilty of an offence.

8. (1) The chairman of the Press Council may in the event of a decision contemplated in Section 7 (6)-

(a) reprimand the person who, in the opinion of the Press Council, was mainly responsible for the report in question, or impose upon him a fine not exceeding one thousand rand;

(b) impose upon the owner of the newspaper in question a fine not exceeding ten thousand rand;

(c) direct that the printing and publication of the newspaper in question be suspended for a period determined by him.

(2) The chairman of the Press Council may, in the manner contemplated in section 7 (3) (c), direct any person referred to in 25 subsection (I) of this section to appear before him for the purposes of the said subsection (1).

(3) Before the chairman of the Press Council takes any steps in terms of subsection (1) of this section, he shall, either orally or by way of a notice served as contemplated in section 7 (3) (c), afford 30 the person concerned an opportunity to advance before him, either in writing or orally, mitigating circumstances or reasons why any particular step contemplated in the said subsection should not be
taken, or no such step should be taken, in his case.

(4) Any person who refuses or fails to- 35

(a) appeal before the chairman of the Press Council in terms of a direction under subsection (2); or

(b) pay, within the period as provided in subsection (5), a fine imposed on him under subsection (I) (a) or(b); or

(c) obey a direction in terms of subsection (1) (c), shall be guilty of an offence.

(5) A fine imposed under subsection (I) (a) or (b) shall be payable to the secretary within thirty days of the date on which it was imposed or within such further period as the chairman of the Press Council may allow.

(6) A fine imposed under subsection (I) (a) or (b) which has been paid, shall be paid into the State Revenue Fund.

9. A decision under this Act of the Press Council or the chairman thereof shall not be subject to appeal to a court of law.

10. (1) A review of a decision of the Press Council or the chairman thereof shall be by three judges of a division of the Supreme Court of South Africa.

(2) If the court reviewing a decision of the Press Council or the chairman thereof sets such decision aside, such court shall remit the matter in question to the Press Council or such chairman, as the case may be, for reconsideration and the giving of some other decision: Provided that if the court sets aside a decision of the Press Council or the said chairman on the ground that the Press Council or the chairman acted mala fide in the giving of the decision in question, the court shall give such decision as in its opinion the Press Council or the chairman should have given.

(3) A decision of the court under the proviso to subsection (2) shall for the purposes of the provisions of this Act, other than the provisions of subsections (1) and (2) of this section, be deemed to be a decision of the Press Council or the chairman thereof, as the case may be.

11. (1) No person shall.-

(a) insult, disparage or belittle a member of the Press Council or anticipate or publish otherwise than as factually correct the proceedings or findings of the Press Council, or publish otherwise than without comments any such proceedings before they have been concluded;

(b) while a meeting of the Press Council is in progress wilfully interrupt the proceedings of the Press Council or misbehave himself in any other manner in the place where such meeting is being held;

(c) in connection with the Press Council do anything which, if done in connection with a court of law, would have Constituted contempt of court.

(2) Any person who contravenes a provision of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence.

12. (1) No person shall do anything calculated to influence the Press Council or a member or an officer thereof in respect of any matter being or to be considered by the Press Council or such member or officer: Provided that the provisions of this subsection shall not be construed as prohibiting any person from performing any act under the provisions of this Act.

(2) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence.

13. (1) The owner or person in control of a newspaper shall ensure that the name and address of the person mainly responsible for any report in such newspaper is correctly and fully recorded.

(2) The Press Council may, in the manner contemplated in newspaper. section 7 (3) (c), direct the owner or person in control of a newspaper to furnish the clerk of the Press Council with the record referred to in subsection (I) relating to a particular report, within seven days or such shorter period not being less than forty-eight hours as the Press Council may determine.

(3) Any person who Contravenes subsection (1) or fails to comply with a direction in terms of subsection(2) shall be guilty of an offence.

14. (1) The owner or person in control of a newspaper shall not in any manner whatsoever compensate for news hints any person who is not in his service or who does not under any agreement make contributions for insertion in reports in such newspaper on a full-time or part-time or regular basis or as a freelance journalist, or invite any such person to give news hints for remuneration.

(2) Any owner or person in control of a newspaper who contravenes subsection (I) shall be guilty of an offence

15 (1) An insurer shall not insure any person against penalties against which the chairman of the Press Council may impose upon him in terms of this Act.

(2) An insurer who contravenes subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence,

16. No civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against the State or the Press Council or a member or an officer of the Press Council, or against a complainant, in respect of any act performed bona fide in accordance with this Act.

17. If a report appears in a newspaper referred to in paragraph (c) of the definition of “newspaper” in section 20 under a name purporting to be the name of any person who is a South African citizen, he shall be deemed to be responsible for such report.

18. (1) Any person convicted of a contravention of section 8 (4) shall be liable-

(a) in the case of a first Conviction, to a fine not exceeding five hundred rand or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment;

(b) in the case of a second Conviction, to a fine not less than five hundred rand and not exceeding one thousand rand or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment; and

(c) in the case of a third or subsequent conviction, to a fine not less than one thousand rand and not exceeding two thousand rand or imprisonment for a period not exceeding twelve months or to both such fine and such imprisonment

(2) Any person convicted of a contravention of section 7 (10), 11(2), 12 (2), 13 (3), 14 (2) or 15 (2) shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred rand or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

19. (1) The Minister may make regulations as to-

(a) the fees payable for a copy of a report of the Press Council referred to in section 7 (8);

(b) the conditions of service of a member of the Press Council who is not in the full-time service of the State;

(c) any other matter which may or is required to be 25 prescribed under this Act, and generally to better achieve the object and purposes of this Act. (2) A regulation contemplated in subsection (1) (a) or (b) shall be made after consultation with the Minister of Finance.

(3) Different Conditions of service may under subsection (1) (b) 30 be prescribed in respect of different persons or classes of persons.

20. In this Act, unless the context otherwise indicates-

(I) “chairman of the Press Council” means the chairman of the Press Council appointed in terms of section 4 (2) (b); (xvii) 35

(ii) “clerk of the Press Council” means the clerk of the Press Council designated in terms of section 4 (6)(b); (Vii)

(ii) “Complainant” means a person who has lodged a complaint in terms of section 5 (1); (v)

(iv) “complaint” means a complaint referred to in section 5 (I) and a part of such a complaint, and includes the further particulars referred to in section 5 (4); (vi)

(v) “department” means the department of State under the control of the Minister designated by the Minister for the purposes of this Act; (iii)

(vi) “editor”, in relation to a report in a newspaper Contemplated in paragraph (c) of the definition of “newspaper” for which a South African Citizen is responsible, means such Citizen; (xiii)

(vii) “Minister” means the Minister to whom the State President has assigned the administration of this Act; (viii)

(viii) “newspaper” means a periodical publication published in the Republic at intervals not exceeding one month and consisting wholly or for the greater part of political or other news or of articles relating thereto or to other current topics, with or without advertisement and with or without illustrations, but does not include any publication not intended for public sale or public dissemination, and includes

(a) a supplement or other document published with a newspaper;

(b) a poster or other document published to advertise a newspaper;

(c) for the purposes of a complaint or a contravention of the Press Code referred to in section 2, a report by a person contemplated in the definition of “editor” and appearing in a periodical or other publication published outside the Republic; (ix)

(ix) “officer” means an officer or employee as defined in section 1 (1) of the Public Service Act, 1957 (Act No. 54 of 1957); (i) to

(x) “prescribe” means prescribe by regulation; (Xviii) (xi) “Press Code” means the Press Code established by section 1; (x)

(xii) “Press Council” means the Press Council established by section 4 (1); (xi)

(xiii) “press Union” means the Press Union of South Africa; (xii)

(xiv) “publish” includes print, reproduce, disseminate, sell or offer, keep, put out or exhibit for sale or keep for inspection by members of the public; (Xvi)

(xv) “regulation” means a regulation made under section 19; (xiv)
(xvi) “report” means any matter, in whatever form, inserted in a newspaper, and “reporting” has a corresponding meaning; (ii)

(xvii) “secretary” means the secretary of the department; (xv)

(xviii) “this Act” includes the regulations. (iv)

21. This Act shall be called the Newspaper Act, 1977, and shall and come into operation on a date fixed by the State President by proclamation in the Gazerre.

Schedule

PRESS CODE

NEWS

(a) News shall be presented in the correct context and in a balanced manner, without intentional or negligent departure from facts, whether by –

(i) distortion exaggeration misrepresentation or incorrect accentuation;
(ii) material omissions; or
(iii) Précis writing

(b) Only what may reasonably be true, having regard to the news source, may be presented as a fact, and reports not based on facts shall be presented in such manner that it appears clearly that such is not the case.

Where there is reason to doubt the correctness of a report and it is practicable to verify the correctness thereof it shall be verified, and where it was not practicable to verify the correctness of a report, it shall be mentioned in such report.

(d) Where a report had been published which subsequently appeared o have been incorrect in a material respect, it shall be rectified mero motu and without reservation or delay, and on the page corresponding to the page of the newspaper on which such report appeared and with the same degree of prominence.

(e) Headlines or captions to pictures shall give a reasonable representation of the material facts of the report or picture in question.

(f) Posters shall nor exaggerate but shall give a reasonble representation of the material facts of the report in question.

(g) The presentation of reports on court cases involving sex or immorality shall be in such manner that it is nor harmful to public morals.

(h) The publication of obscene and lascivious mailer, including photographs, shall be avoided.

(i) The publication of any matter which is blasphemous or offensive to the religious Convictions or feelings of any section of the inhabitants of the Republic, shall be avoided.

2. COMMENT

(a) Comment shall be presented in such manner that it appears clearly that it is comment

(b) Comment shall be the honest expression of opinion without malice or dishonest motive.

(c) Comment on any matter shall be given in a manner balanced in regard to all material facts thereof,

3. NEWS AND COMMENT

As far as news as well as comment is concerned editors or owners shall-

(a) exercise exceptional care and responsibility as to-

(i) subjects that may cause enmity or give offence in racial, ethnic or cultural masters in the Republic or incite persons to contravene the law;
(ii) matters that may detrimentally affect the safety of the State, the common weal and economic prosperity, the peace and good order and the defence of the Republic and its people;
(iii) the Presentation of reports on the commission of violence and atrocities;

(b) exercise care and caution as to matters affecting the private lives and interests of individuals, having due regard to the Principle that the right of the individual to privacy shall be respected and that his private activities shall only be reported and commented upon where such activities affect the public interest, and the right of the community to be informed demands that such activities be reported and commented upon;

(c) as far as is practicable ensure that honesty, objectivity, reasonableness, responsibility and correctness in reporting in newspaper are promoted;

(d) as far as is practical ensure that-

(i) the standards of decency and public morals of the nations and population groups of the Republic are not debased;
(ii) relations between the different nations and population groups of the Republic are not prejudiced;
(iii) the name of the Republic is not damaged abroad; and
(iv) the safety of the State, the common weal and the peace and good order are not endangered, by reporting.

4. ADVERTISEMENTS

Advertisements regarding matter which is in terms of a decision under the Publications Act, 1974 (Act No. 42 of 1974), undesirable, shall not be inserted in a newspaper.

Introduced to Parliament March 11 1977. Withdrawn March 25 1977.

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