JMS – Where SA’s Media Elite MeetDate Released: Wed, 23 May 2012 17:43 +0200
Receiving his Honourary Doctorate from Rhodes, Dr. Louw, whose career as editor and press freedom activist is legendary, was special JMS guest over the Rhodes graduation weekend; and his speech at the JMS graduation cocktail function – focusing on the vital importance of press freedom – resonated strongly with graduates, their families and JMS staff alike! Soon thereafter, on World Press Freedom Day, Mr. Mthembu and Ms. Shinn MP came together at a special JMS Press Freedom evening function to discuss their respective parties’ media and communications policies and visions of the future. It was a rare treat indeed to have both the ANC and DA share the speakers’ podium in a spirit of conviviality, openness, free debate and intelligent discourse! It was also on that night that Mr. Mthembu strongly hinted at the inclusion of the public interest clause in the Protection of State Information Bill. Indeed, for those present at the JMS World Press Freedom Day event, the clause’s subsequent inclusion - albeit with huge restrictions - came as no surprise! In fact, Prof Jane Duncan – convener of the event – wrote about the potential shift towards a public interest clause, in an article in the Daily Dispatch on the 7th of May – days before the limited inclusion occurred. The final media luminary to make their presence felt at JMS was Dr. Dario Milo, partner at law-firm Webber Wentzel, whose team represents South Africa’s leading media groups and institutions such as the Independent Group, Carte Blanche and SANEF and has made various submissions to government on media issues. Dr. Milo, who is also a visiting associate professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, teaching Media Law at the Wits Law School, took time out of a frenetic schedule to present a lecture on defamation to JMS 3 and PG Dip students studying Media Law & Ethics this term. And it was a fantastic learning opportunity indeed for students of media to have direct access to one of the leading lights in South African media law for the afternoon.
Ultimately, beyond the wonderful energy and insight that they brought with them, the presence of Drs Louw and Milo, and Mr Mthembu and Ms. Shinn MP, again proved that while JMS is located vast distances from South Africa’s core hubs, it remains a key player in the development of South African media discourse - always!