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ANC faction proposes a second South Africa media tribunal

Ahead of the ruling ANC's party meeting next week, a faction suggests altering the Constitution to include a second South Africa media tribunal. Some see the move as a warning to the media to stop fighting a greater degree of regulation.

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The contentious relationship between South Africa’s private news media and its powerful ruling party, the African National Congress, seems almost certain to take a turn for the worse in weeks ahead, as a powerful party stalwarts proposed yet another media watchdog to rein in reporters and news organizations that are not “acting in the national interest.”

The ANC chapter for Gauteng Province – which includes both South Africa’s political capital of Pretoria and its economic capital of Johannesburg – has proposed creating another group, this one enshrined in the Constitution. It would operate independently of the ANC’s already proposed Media Appeals Tribunal, though it would mirror the first tribunal in its mandate to punish reporters who "undermine" the nation's Constitution."

Some ANC members say the second tribunal proposal may be either a sign of growing pressure from the party rank and file to get tough with the media, or a signal to the media industry to stop fighting and accept the first tribunal.

The proposal – which would violate the country's Constitution – comes just days before the ANC holds its midterm policy review, the National General Council, in Durban, ahead of national elections in 2012.

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