Control of mergers between newspaper enterprises under South African and German competition law

Janka, Sebastian Felix (2005-12)

Thesis (LLM)--University of Stellenbosch, 2005.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis compares South African and German Competition Law. The focus is the control of mergers between newspaper enterprises. It has to be asked whether special rules should apply to transactions in this field, considering the importance of an unconcentrated, competitive press from an economic and political point of view. It will be shown that South African and German Competition Law are similar in many respects. Both legal systems follow a flexible, primarily economic approach to the consideration of proposed transactions, taking into account a plurality of factors to determine potential detrimental effects of mergers on competition. Moreover, pro-competitive gains and public interest issues are recognised under South African and German law. When it comes to the control of mergers between newspaper enterprises, though, the two legal systems diverge. Only under German Competition Law, are there specific provisions for press mergers. In view of a recently proposed amendment of the German Competition Law, the appropriate form of regulation that is likely to guarantee a free press, will be investigated. It will also be analysed, whether there is a specific need for press regulation in the South African context. Even though there are no special provisions under South African Competition Law, the South African Constitution leaves space for a broader understanding of the freedom of the press. Hence, it will be examined if the South African Constitution obliges the state to enact particular laws to protect press-plurality. Moreover, it will be analysed if the South African Competition Act should be interpreted in a manner that would promote plurality of the press. In the view of the eminent role of the press for a democratic society, it will be argued in this thesis, that there is a particular need for media regulation. Notably the significant levels of concentration in both German and South African press markets raise concerns as regards the protection of a free and pluralistic press. It will be shown that there are different foreign approaches to maintaining and promoting freedom of the press and it will be suggested that South Africa recognises a need for more press-specific regulation in the future.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie verhandeling vergelyk Suid-Afrikaanse en Duitse mededingingsreg. Dit is gefokus op beheer oor persondernemings. Die vraag word gevra of spesiale reëls van toepassing behoort te wees op transaksies in hierdie sektor, indien die politieke en ekonomiese belang van 'n ongekonsentreerde en mededingende pers in ag geneem word. Dit word uitgewys dat Suid-Afrikaanse en Duitse mededingsreg in vele opsigte soortgelyk is, wat die regulering van samesmeltings betref. Beide regsstelsels volg 'n buigsame, hoofsaaklik ekonomiese benadering tot die oorweging van 'n transaksie. Beide neem 'n veelheid van faktore in ag om te bepaal of 'n transaksie moontlik negatiewe gevolge vir mededinging het. Verder word pro-mededingende en publieke belangsaspekte in beide die Suid- Afrikaanse en Duitse reg in ag geneem. In die geval van 'n samesmelting tussen koerantondernemings verskil die twee sisteme egter. Die Duitse reg het spesiale reëls vir samesmelting van sulke ondernemings. In die lig van wysigings wat onlangs aan die Duitse mededingsreg voorgestel is, word geskikte vlakke van regulering van die pers, wat nodig is om 'n vrye pers te waarborg, ondersoek. Aandag word geskenk aan die vraag of daar'n behoefte is aan regulering van die pers in die Suid-Afrikaanse omgewing. Alhoewel die Suid-Afrikaanse Grondwet nie spesiaal daarvoor voorsiening maak nie, laat die Grondwet plek vir 'n wyer begrip van persvryeid. Dus word vasgestelof daar 'n plig op die staat is om wetgewing in te voer wat die staat dwing om perspluralisme te beskerm. Verder, word bepaal of die Suid-Afrikaanse Mededingingswet op so 'n wyse interpreteer kan word dat dit perspluralisme sal bevorder. In die lig van die sentrale rol vir 'n vrye pers in 'n demokratiese samelewing, word geargumenteer dat, daar 'n spesiale behoefte aan reguleringvan die media is. Die hoë vlakke van konsentrasie in beide die Duitse en Suid- Afrikaanse persmarkte skep besorgheid oor die beskerming van 'n vrye en pluralistiese pers in hierdie lande. Dit word aangetoon dat daar verskillende benaderings tot die beskerming en bevordering van 'n vrye pers in ander lande is en daar word voorgestel dat Suid-Afrika 'n behoefte aan meer spesifieke reëls vir regulering van die pers erken.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50303
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