Sexwale supports media freedom

11 August 2010 - 12:13 By Sapa

ANC heavyweight Tokyo Sexwale came out in strong support of media freedom at a leadership summit in Johannesburg.

>>Protection of information bill

“[Nelson] Mandela's style of leadership... speaks about the freedom of expression, but, most importantly, also the freedom of the media,” Sexwale said at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit, where he praised the anti-apartheid icon's style of leadership.

At the end of his speech, Sexwale, who is also human settlements minister, said he wanted to use the opportunity to take his own “leadership stance” about the media.

He said “a lot of heat” had been generated around the media in the past few days, in an apparent reference to the ruling African National Congress's proposal to set up a Media Appeals Tribunal for print media, which has been vocally supported by the ANC Youth League.

“A perception has emerged that the there is some kind of war between... the ANC and the media... I want to state without equivocation, from where I sit, from where I stand, where I come from, such a fight should not have a basis,” said Sexwale.

“... that the media should be fought, destroyed, that would be unconstitutional. That would be running against any value that Mandela stands for, that I stand for,” he said to loud applause.

Sexwale added that South Africans were made of “stellar stuff” and that people should be able to discuss hard concepts, even though it generated tension.

“These are intellectual discussions... I remain confident we will always find solutions through robust debate,” he said.

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