The SA Press Council has called for submissions as part of its review. So I started writing... and writing. Almost 4000 words and nine pages later, there are more than a couple of ideas about how press self-regulation can be strengthened. In a nutshell:
1. Change the name of the whole institution to "Press Accountability South Africa" (PASA).
2. Create separate bodies for adjudication and appeals.
3. Provide a Public Advocate to assist complainants, and an Advocacy Officer to drive public awareness.
Full text of a speech I gave at the inaugural meeting of the Press Council, Johannesburg, 2 November 2007.
This body really has to succeed - if it can't win respect from editors and government, as being above the fray, then we're in big trouble. Everybody. Government, media, public. The scenario then will be external regulation, rather than self-regulation.