South Africa is hurtling towards another period of press censorship, with the impending enactment of the Film and Publications Amendment Bill this week. After a relatively unrestricted period that could see a return to the censorship of the eighties, limp-wristed media activists could be up in arms but the press have only themselves to blame. The same press which censored journalists over the right to question AIDS statistics in the late nineties and then destroyed careers over the right to hold opinions about George W Bush’s War Against Terror after 2001, is now bleeting about government interfearance and the threat of media regulation.
Surely somebody would have rung the alarm bell, but is seems a little government interfearance is necessary to put everything into perspective. Come on, the only way to prevent the pedofiles at Independent News & Media from destroying the fabric of civilisation with their spew about Jacob Zuma is to regulate them. The only way to stop the Media24 machine populated by robots and Yes-men, is to take away some of their freedom, freedom which, paradoxically, they never bothered fighting for, and which instead, was briefly won, via numerous battles in the alternative press — titles like Vrye Weekblad (closed down after lengthy legal battle) and South, (defunct because of the profligacy of Prof Guy Berger).
It is ironic that the self-same advocates of apartheid are now muttering about censorship and freedom of speech, having censored and blacked out most of the struggle. Media24 have actually gone so far as to attempt to gag the Alternative Media Forum. Could we be suffering from collective amnesia? A hole in the head is more likely. With South Africa’s press gone to rot, and the likes of David Bullard and Derek Wilson populating the weekend columns, we should be overjoyed that the government is finally doing something constructive with our tax money.
Let the press be damned and publish this if you dare. Oh, I forget, this is an online blog and nobody can stop me….