Schlagwort-Archive: assistance

Blogger Akanyang Merementsi im Interview

Die südafrikanische Pressefreiheit findet keine Anwendung auf Blogger. Wer schützt die Netzaktivisten?

(Autor/ Editor: Ghassan Abid)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Die Pressefreiheit muss in allen Staaten der Welt, auch in Demokratien, ständig verteidigt werden. In Südafrika steht die Presselandschaft besonders unter Druck. Mail & Guardian, das Flaggschiff des investigativen Journalismus, ist mehrfach durch den Staat und einer Reihe von Konzernen vor Gericht gezerrt worden – aktuell durch die Unternehmens- und Managementberatung Bososa. Die Aufdeckung der Quellen, der Whistleblower, ist in den meisten Fällen das Ziel von juristischen Auseinandersetzungen. Die Verfassung garantiere das Recht auf Quellenschutz, wenn ein hohes öffentliches Interesse bestehe, so der Blogger und selbsternannte „Media-Freak“ Akanyang Merementsi aus Rustenburg. Er bedauert jedoch, dass den Bloggern kein Rechtsstatus auf journalistische Privilegien zusteht – ähnlich in Deutschland. In den USA hingegen existieren bereits Organisationen wie Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), die den Bloggern umfassende Hilfe in Öffentlichkeitsarbeit und Rechtsberatung- bzw. vertretung anbieten. Bezüglich der geplanten und vom ANC geplanten Presseregulierung, wonach im Rahmen des sog. Protection of Information Bill Journalisten bei der Veröffentlichung von geheimen Informationen mit bis zu 25 Jahren Haft bestraft werden können, führt Akanyang die Zunahme von Falschmeldungen an. Die südafrikanische Presse hat in den letzten drei Jahren nach Angaben des stellvertretenden Presse-Ombudsmann  für einen Anstieg der Beschwerden von 70 Prozent gesorgt. Falsche Informationen und unethische Meldungen dienen dementsprechend als Grundlage zur Presseregulierung.  Ferner bemängelt Akanyang die fortwährende Schwarz-Weiß-Einteilung der südafrikanischen Gesellschaft und vor allem die von Weißen betriebene Assoziation von Problemen wie Armut, Kriminalität, mangelnde Bildung und Korruption  mit der schwarzen Hautfarbe. Er hasst es, dass Schwarze per se  in „Verdacht“ gestellt werden.

© Akanyang Merementsi, media freak & blogger and worker in mining industry

© Akanyang Merementsi, media freak & blogger and worker in mining industry.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome on SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste – the German Gateway to South Africa – a Rustenburg based blogger Akanyang Merementsi. Dear Akanyang, according to your Akanyang Africa blog you are a “media freak”. Which aims are you following with your online media?

Answer: My blog addresses a range of topics and these include politics and media developments in South Africa (African and abroad). I am passionate about media and politics and this must have something to do with the fact that I almost became a journalist in my last year (2007) at North West University’s Mafikeng campus in the North West province.

At the time I developed a keen interest in media and politics which played a role in my becoming a writer for the university student newspaper, The Album. The stint, however, only lasted for a couple of months until sometime August that year when the university, strangely, decided to close down the newspaper due to lack of funds. In my first issue I had only written one feature involving a student whose residence room had caught fire and burned most of her belongings. I also contributed in the news snips section of the newspaper.

But as for political interests, I hope my Aquarius star attributes of curiosity and inquisitiveness have nothing to do with it. But I suspect they do.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You are criticising several cases of organisation that are in confrontation with press institutions. For example in the juridical case between the enterprise BOSASA against Mail & Guardian newspaper. Is the South Africa state sufficiently protecting bloggers and journalists?

Answer: On the Mail & Guardian vs. Bosasa saga I was merely concerned that there was such great silence from other media houses in the country that previously claimed to support press-freedom but had failed to come to the defence of M&G when it was being forced through the Court to reveal sources that had leaked certain information to it. And as far as I understand newspapers like M&G are protected by the Constitution from not revealing their sources if their revelations are “in the public interest”, which the Bosasa stories were, according to my understanding. Therefore it was sad that only one organisation was behind M&G in court while others like Democratic Alliance, Cosatu, etc. were silent.

So journalists enjoy more protection than bloggers (like myself or any other for that matter). This is because, so we are told, we are not and cannot claim to be journalists who enjoy some great protection from the Constitution.

I do not think bloggers can claim to be journalists and therefore claiming their rights, but I truly believe that we bloggers do not enjoy any protection at all to date.

Not even international organisations I have interacted with can easily help me fight any legal battle for me a South African blogger. Or if they were, it would be difficult as they would first have to find their peer in my country who would be willing to represent me. In June last year I asked Rebecca Jeschke, a media relations director at Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) – a US-based organisation that fights for what it called the Bloggers’ Rights – about her organisation and what it does. With offices only in San Francisco, Jeschke said the organisation’s “legal guide” whose “law [is] referenced” in the US “likely doesn’t apply to South Africa”.

Asked how EFF defended bloggers in other parts of the world – South Africa as an example, she said they worked on “an activism level”. “We can and do call attention to important international cases, and work on international policy issues. But we don’t do on-the-ground legal work for cases outside of the US”. Although they would not be personally helping bloggers if they faced lawsuits, Jeschke said, however, that EFF can be contacted for assistance and they “will try to help find appropriate legal assistance”. “But we can’t provide that assistance ourselves for cases outside of the US”, she said.

If you will remember a blogger had written a story for which s/he was fined over a million Pounds/Euros/dollars. This, the Court found later, was because, unlike journalists, she was not protected from not disclosing sources. What bloggers can only exercise but with caution is our right to freedom of opinion and expression which are enshrined in the South African Constitution. So this is an indication that bloggers do not have much protection as journalists do.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: What is your opinion with regard to the ANC’s planned Protection of Information Bill? Will the government be cutting press freedom?

Answer: I have not read the revised version of the proposed regulation, even the old one I had not finished reading. However, those that had read both versions and whose judgements I trust are of the opinion that the Protection of State Information Bill in its current form might be unconstitutional.

For example, at the time of doing writing veteran Human Rights lawyer George Bizos of the Legal Resources Centre reportedly had his submission to Parliament on the bill that: “as it stands, [it] runs contrary to and indeed threatens many of the fundamental values and principles enshrined in the Constitution”. This is the general view in the country and of course many of us are inclined to believe that for as long as the bill is not in line with the constitution as alleged – where the media and press rights and freedom and their constitutional obligations to report without fear and or favour are not recognised, where whistleblowers are protected and that any information can be leaked and or reported in the “public interest” – then we need to be worried and concerned as a nation because many secrets (often by political parties, corruptable businesspeople, government departments and private businesses) are very much likely to be covered up with the passing of these laws.

So by introducing a law such as this and the ruling party’s proposed Media Appeals Tribunal – our media would be very much limited to reporting alleged/suspected corruption where leaked evidence thereof do exist. Therefore, to a great extent, these laws would be “cutting press freedom”.

Having said this, however, the media (especially on MAT proposal) is as much to blame for many of its unethical and irresponsible reporting, some of which are way out of line with the South African Press Codes.

For example, I blogged on May 7 last year, asking: “Is Sunday Times living up to this Code of Conduct?” In another blog entry published at the same time, I asked: “Has Sunday Times breached the Press Codes on its ‘Dis-Grace’ story?” Below is just a few of my articles published on my blog in which I criticise the press/media:

  • M&G newspaper fighting solo Court battle to protects its sources
  • Is Rupert Murdoch doing a Bosasa on M&G?
  • Why our media should sleep on its ‘self-regulation’ bed now more than ever
  • Does the media report or assume news?
  • Is there ’copy and past’ in SA newsrooms?
  • What editors need to do to avoid a repeat of The Star and Daily Sun (newspapers) on Malema
  • Is Avusa Media consistent with columnists?
  • Did Avusa and Sunday Times “raise controversy without thought for the consequences” with Roberts’ column?
  • When should “sources” be used?
  • Interview with SA Press Council and Press Ombudsman
  • Did Sunday Times act “ethically” in publishing “Against The Rules Too” report?
  • Public Protector vindicates me on Sunday Times’ “unethical and unlawful” publication of Against The Rules Too
  • M&G playing political games with anonymous sources?
  • Was Mbeki wrong about Press Freedom in 1996?
  • Sunday World and Sunday Times “slave for formula”?
  • Has Mail & Guardian confused you on the Maharaj saga?
  • Was Sowetan’s Mathale “dare” Zuma claim misleading?

In February this year South African Press Council released figures in which it noted the increase of complaints against newspapers. Deputy Press ombudsman said at the time that there was a 70% increase over the last three years in the number of complaints about incorrect or unethical newspaper reports. He said the complainants grew from 150 in 2009 to 213 in 2010 and 255 in 2011.

While criticising the media on 13 March, Press Ombudsman Joe Thloloe said his office experienced “problems… with the way ([newspapers] ignored correspondences” from his office, naming The Times newspaper as one of the culprits. This, however, is not to say the press should be suppressed as it now is tempted to with these laws although the government has denied this.

© Screenshot to the blog "Akanyang Africa" by Akanyang Merementsi

© Screenshot to the blog „Akanyang Africa“ by Akanyang Merementsi

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: South Africa is still challenged with many socio-political problems like crime, corruption and poverty. Is the government by President Jacob Zuma doing enough for the South African people or which policies should be changed?

Answer: I would like to believe that the government is doing its best – though not enough – to fight poverty and corruption the country. On 11 March 2012, I was called an “idiot” by someone on Twitter when I put it to him that we – especially white people in the country – have a tendency of saying crime, education and corruption is a “Black problem” or the “ANC problem”. Which are not. So for as long we have people who still 18-years into our democracy see crime, education and crime as a “black person’s problem” then we have a long way to go in overcoming these challenges.

I would also like to believe that we have good policies in fighting these but sometimes lack of community involvement (for whatever reasons) is probably one of the reasons why there is little success in sorting out our education, crime and poverty and corruption challenges.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Some voices are denouncing the continuous fragmentation of the South African society in blacks and whites. Would you confirm this perception?

Answer: I have realised that we have accepted and see ourselves on racial terms: black and white people. To achieve the rainbow nation envisioned by former President Nelson Mandela will take probably longer than it took apartheid to rule South Africa. Seeing ourselves as just one human race will be hard-work and not an easy road, I must add.

One of the issues that often come up is that of white people failing to accept some of the awful things their forefathers had done to ours. And it is sad that some of these things still happen to this very day. To address this, I would suggested that we have some sort of a Race Debate because surely Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission did little job in helping both blacks and whites accept one another and our differences. But at the same time – as mentioned in my blog post published on 25 March 2012 and titled “My ‘Black Man Code’ or is it a ‘Trayvon Martin’ moment? – I think white people “… tend to treat us blacks with suspicion” and I hate it.

Associate Press Writer Jesse Washington coined The Black Man Code and he told his son to “Understand that even though you are not a criminal, some people [white in particular] might assume you are, especially if you are wearing certain clothes”. So to a “black male… [to] go above and beyond to show strangers what type of person you really are” – as Washington told his son to do – it will be difficult because this always gives us blacks The Black Man Code. Worse, it sometimes makes us experience that “Trayvon-Martin moment”.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which impressions do you have from Germany and Germans?

Answer: Unfortunately I cannot form any opinion of Germany and or its people because I have not had any interaction with them.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Akanyang Merementsi – media freak & blogger – thank you very much for this interesting interview!

1.460 Kinder verschwinden jedes Jahr

Im Interview mit Judy Olivier, Nationalkoordinatorin der NGO Missing Children South Africa

(Autor/ Editor: Ghassan Abid)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Wenn es um das schlimme Schicksal von Kindern geht, dann wird oft geschwiegen. Ob in Deutschland oder in Südafrika – der Missbrauch von Kindern bleibt ein Tabuthema. Allerdings grenzt sich Südafrika von Deutschland dahingehend ab, dass der Verbleib von verschwundenen Kindern am Kap ein deutlich größeres Problem darstellt. Bisweilen führt die Regierung keine Statistiken über den Handel und die Zwangsprostitution mit Kindern. Nach Angaben des „Missing Persons Bureau of South Africa“ ist lediglich bekannt, dass jährlich über 1.460 Kinder als vermisst gemeldet werden. Diese Zahl wird von mehreren Experten in Frage gestellt, wenn man bedenkt, dass die jährliche Anzahl der vermissten Kinder in Deutschland bei bereits 50.000 liegt. Die Statistik-Misere und Defizite der öffentlichen Verwaltung am Kap sollen jedoch in diesem Artikel ausgeblendet werden.

Missing Children South Africa, eine national agierende NGO, setzt seit 2007 hierbei an und bietet besorgten Eltern Hilfe beim Aufspüren ihrer Sprösslinge an. Ihre Mission ist es, dass aus Vermissten keine dauerhaft Verschwundenen werden. Laut Judy Olivier, Nationalkoordinatorin der Organisation, werden jedes Jahr 380 Kinder an Missing Children gemeldet. Die meisten Minderjährigen können durch die Öffentlichkeitsarbeit dieser NGO und in Zusammenarbeit mit Polizei, Medien, Gemeinden und Schulen gerettet bzw. aufgespürt werden. Die Erfolgsquote liegt nach eigenen Angaben bei 87 Prozent. Für rund 3 Prozent der 380 Kinder ist allerdings jede Hilfe zu spät – sie sind tot. Ferner macht Missing Children South Africa auf Missstände aufmerksam. Beispielsweise gehen immer noch etliche Polizisten davon aus, dass auch bei vermissten Kindern eine Wartezeit von 24 bzw. 48 Stunden zu beachten ist, bis die Polizei einschreiten kann. Diese Annahme ist falsch, beklagt Judy Olivier, da die Frist zur Vermisstenanzeige und der damit verbundenen Einleitung von polizeilichen Maßnahmen nur bei Erwachsenen eine Anwendung findet. Denn die ersten 24 Stunden sind entscheidend, ob ein Kind lebend oder tot aufgespürt wird, heißt es in kriminalistischen Kreisen. Für 2012 möchte Missing Children South Africa weitere Polizeistationen besuchen, mehr Leute erreichen und ihre finanzielle Situation verbessern. Denn auf der nationalen Ebene arbeiten nur drei bezahlte Kräfte für diese NGO.


© Judy Olivier, National Coordinator of Missing Children South Africa

© Judy Olivier, National Coordinator of Missing Children South Africa

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ – the German Gateway to South Africa – Ms. Judy Olivier, National Coordinator of Missing Children South Africa. Ms. Olivier, your NGO has been launched in 2007 in response to the kidnapping and brutal murders of children. What is your organisation doing exactly?

Answer: To provide a structure of re-active support to the family, authorities and other NGO’s when a child goes missing. We design a flyer of the missing child and then our aim is to distribute it to as many people as possible as quickly as possible to create as much awareness as possible about the missing child.

To provide pro-active national awareness to children and their families, media, authorities, communities and schools. Visiting schools and communities, educating/informing them about the reality of children going missing, what to do when a child goes missing, sharing safety tips and also informing communities about the reality of human trafficking.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Could you tell us, how many children are kidnapped and murdered each year in South Africa?

Answer: Again, based on the cases reported to Missing Children SA, 3% of the children reported missing to our organsiation were tragically found deceased.  3% of children are victims of kidnappings – this includes stranger abductions as well as non-stranger abductions. If we look at parental abductions, approximately 7% of the cases reported to our organisation falls under this category. Where one parent takes the child without the permission from the other and disappears with the child.

© Vermisst wird seit dem 16.01.2012 das Baby Mlondi Thwala, zum Zeitpunkt des Verschwindens rund 1 Monat alt, aus der Provinz Kwazulu-Natal. Mit solchen Vermisstenanzeigen macht Missing Children South Africa in Zusammenarbeit mit Polizei, Medien, Gemeinden und Schulen auf diese Fälle meist erfolgreich aufmerksam. Die Erfolgsquote liegt nach eigenen Angaben bei 87 Prozent.

© Vermisst wird seit dem 16.01.2012 das Baby Mlondi Thwala, zum Zeitpunkt des Verschwindens rund 1 Monat alt, aus der Provinz Kwazulu-Natal. Mit solchen Vermisstenanzeigen macht Missing Children South Africa in Zusammenarbeit mit Polizei, Medien, Gemeinden und Schulen auf diese Fälle meist erfolgreich aufmerksam. Die Erfolgsquote liegt nach eigenen Angaben bei 87 Prozent.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which information do you have in regard to child trafficking in South Africa; in which provinces are children most in danger and who are the offenders?

Answer: Unfortunately statistics about child trafficking in South Africa is not available from MCSA at this stage. The possibility exists that the children that are still missing, could have fallen victims of trafficking, but we can unfortunately not prove this at this stage. We are slowly but surely compiling stats on human trafficking. Please try the organisation ANEX. It focuses specifically on exploitation of children. I am sure they will be able to assist.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Missing Children SA is also collaborating with the South African Police Service (SAPS). Which structural police deficits in context to child abuse prevention should be encountered?

Answer: We are very fortunate to work closely with SAPS and it is wonderful to get the necessary collaboration from the different stations. The assistance received from the stations differ from town to town and province to province. Some of the officers working with missing children, for example, are not yet aware that there is no waiting period to report a child (or any other person) missing. A lot of the officers (and other South African citizens) are still under the impression that one has to wait 24 hours (or even 48 hours) before reporting a person missing. This is an area we try to improve on a daily basis.

About prevention of child abuse, please be sure to try the organisation Matla-A-Bana.  Matla-A-Bana focuses specifically on child abuse in South Africa and works very closely with SAPS as well. They will be able to give you thorough feedback about this.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: The in Durban located NGO Bobbi Bear is criticising the patriarchal Zulu tradition. Bobbi Bear is denouncing the South African police and justice for missing will to defeat the child abuse situation in KwaZulu-Natal. Are you agree with this perception?

Answer: I am familiar with the NGO Bobbi Bear, but unfortunately cannot comment on this. I am unaware of this statement. We work only with children/individuals reported missing to SAPS. Maybe again you can try Matla-A-Bana for a comment about his, as its focus is again on child abuse.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which projects in 2012 are pursuing by Missing Children SA?

Answer: In 2012 we will continue to expand our network and get more and more people involved to assist us when a child goes missing. More SAPS stations will be visited, and we will continue to strive to build relationships with them to be able to work together even more efficiently. On 25 May 2012 – International Missing Children’s Day – we will be aiming to create as much awareness as possible about the reality of children going missing, using the media and other resources. We are partnering with more and more NGO’s on a daily basis and our focus this year will be specifically on getting more involved with organsations fighting against Human Trafficking.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Is Missing Children SA cooperating with German organisations or authorities?

Answer: At this stage Missing Children SA are working within the borders of South Africa only. Once an international case comes to our attention, we will refer them to Interpol or the Missing Persons Bureau. We hope to change this in the future. However, at this stage we are only 3 paid employees running the organisation nationally. As soon as we get the necessary financial resources to appoint more permanent employees, we will definitely look into expanding our borders.

I thank you for your interest in our organisation. Should you require any further assistance, please be sure to let me know.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Thank you very much for your assistance offer! Judy Olivier, National Coordinator of Missing Children South Africa, much success in your work!

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