FFPlus: Statement by Pieter Mulder, Freedom Front Plus leader, on the possible outcomes of restricting media freedom (12/10/2010)

12th October 2010

"Zimbabwe has the strongest opposition in Africa, but is seen as undemocratic. This is because the instruments which are key to a democracy and has to be used by the opposition to be relevant, including media freedom, are being restricted and in this way the opposition becomes useless," Dr. Mulder said. Dr. Mulder added that South Africa's democracy is being threatened as a number of these key instruments are being made ineffective by the governing party. This includes the watered down questions time of the President and Ministers in Parliament, the annual reports of state departments which increasingly contain less concrete information and the proposed media tribunal.

Dr. Pieter Mulder, FF Plus leader and deputy minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries participated in a debate on the proposed media tribunal and the protection of information Bill today at UNISA.

"If the media tribunal is appointed by the ANC majority it will never be independent. Such a tribunal will then undermine the democracy of our country and the watch dog function of opposition parties such as the FF Plus."

Dr. Mulder also pointed out that the ANC will definitely realize that it is not so easy to smother modern media in South Africa. There are various innovative media which can not be stopped that easily, including the internet, community radios and cellular phones.

"The ANC should take note that the strong opposition within and outside of South Africa against the proposed media tribunal and amendment bill and should realize how important media freedom is for our democracy."