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Q: What are the leadership challenges for African Media Owners and Managers?  A: Flex muscles to tackle unfriendly media laws
 

Q: What are the leadership challenges for African Media Owners and Managers? A: Flex muscles to tackle unfriendly media laws

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Q: What are the leadership challenges for African Media Owners and Managers? A: Flex muscles to tackle unfriendly media law Presented by Justine Limpitlaw at AMLF 2012

Q: What are the leadership challenges for African Media Owners and Managers? A: Flex muscles to tackle unfriendly media law Presented by Justine Limpitlaw at AMLF 2012

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    Q: What are the leadership challenges for African Media Owners and Managers?  A: Flex muscles to tackle unfriendly media laws Q: What are the leadership challenges for African Media Owners and Managers? A: Flex muscles to tackle unfriendly media laws Presentation Transcript

    • Q: What are the leadershipchallenges for African MediaOwners and Managers?A: Flex muscles to tackleunfriendly media lawsJustine Limpitlaw, Konrad Adenauer StiftungAMLF 2012Dakar, Senegal 1
    • Time to Challenge Laws that Hold theMedia Back• An array of often unconstitutional and certainly outdated Colonial era media laws remain on the statute books of most African countries.• These are often directly used to imprison or harass journalists and media houses.• Even indirectly they impact on media operations – having a silencing or chilling effect on journalists and media houses • Security-related laws eg Penal codes, Defence legislation and other laws dealing with sedition, public order, state security, emergency legislation or regulations • Pornography, public morality laws • Insult laws 2
    • Time to Challenge Colonial SecurityLaws• Examples: • Egs of Colonial-era Security Laws eg the Zambian Penal Code of 1930, Lesotho’s Sedition Proclamation of 1938, Botswana’s Penal Code of 1964, Malawi’s official Secrets Act of 1913 and Smith-era emergency laws in Zimbabwe• Problems with colonial-era security laws: • Subjective grounds for prohibiting publications • eg if the President in his sole and absolute discretion is of the opinion that such a prohibition will be in the interests of defence, public safety and public order. • Overbroad provisions: • eg Lesotho’s, Swaziland’s and Malawi’s sedition legislation define sedition to include promoting “feelings of ill-will between different sections of the population” – far too broad to be focused only on 3 genuine security issues.
    • Time to Challenge Colonial SecurityLaws• What is to be done? • Replace existing laws with constitution-respecting laws which are in line with democratic norms for security laws eg Johannesburg Principles, African Freedom of Expression Declaration ie • Objective emergency threatening the life of the nation • Government must demonstrate legitimate security interest which is the threat or use of force whether external or internal • Restriction (on freedom of expression) is not legitimate if genuine purpose is to: • protect the government from embarrassment or exposure of wrong- doing • entrench particular ideology • suppress industrial unrest • Example of misuse of security rationale: Nkandla Security 4 Upgrades and the National Key Points Act, 1982.
    • Time to Challenge Colonial ObscenityLaws• Examples: • Swaziland’s Cinematograph Act of 1920 and Obscene Publications Act of 1927, Zambia’s Penal Code of 1930, Botswana’s Penal Code of 1964, Malawi Censorship and Control of Entertainments Act of 1968• Problems with colonial-era obscenity laws: • Focused on terms such as “public morality”, “undesirable” “obscenity” which are not defined and are therefor often subjectively determined by governmental decision-makers. • Can be abused to attack or harass journalists covering genuine public interest issues eg Zambian journalist/editor charged under obscenity laws for publishing a photograph of a young woman giving birth on a pavement outside a non-functional state hospital. 5
    • Time to Challenge Colonial ObscenityLaws• What is to be Done? • Update laws to take account of international freedom of expression norms but also local social norms • Focus: • protecting children • for adults: time, manner, place restrictions rather than a blanket ban • Harm: focus on explicitness, violence and discrimination rather than subjective concepts such as morality or obscenity 6
    • Time to Challenge Colonial Insult Laws• Examples: • Insult provisions in: the Botswana Penal Code 1964, Malawi’s Protected Flag, Emblems and Names Act, 1967 (note Post- Colonial), Zambian Penal Code of 1930, Swaziland’s Cinematograph Act of 1920.• Problems with Colonial-era insult laws • Fundamentally undermine concept of equality before the law • Put the President, King or ruler above accountability and beyond the reach of reporting • Reporting on genuine public interest issues: corruption, nepotism etc hampered by overzealous use of insult laws. 7
    • Time to Challenge Colonial Insult Laws• What is to be done? • Support the 2013 Campaign to Repeal Insult Laws which is to be taken up by the African Commission with support by the AU Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression • Report on it • Protect journalists • Support test cases • Take it up as self-regulatory media bodies eg press councils etc • If the African Commission campaign is successful, use it a precedent for repealing/amending other laws: eg sedition/security laws and outdated obscenity laws 8
    • Time to Push for Pro-Media Laws• Push for Legislative Reforms to encourage public sector transparency and accountability: • Access to information legislation • State • Private sector • Administrative Justice legislation • to cover regulators’ decisions • Whistleblower and Anti-Corruption legislation 9
    • Free pdf copies of the Konrad Adenauer Media LawHandbook for Southern Africa Vol 1 is available at:http://www.kas.de/medien-afrika/en/publications/23503/THANK YOU 10