State tabloid claims readership of ‘over 10 million’

2011-08-24 08:50

The newly launched government newspaper, Vuk’uzenzele, claims it has more than 10 million readers.

In a parliamentary reply to the DA MP Natasha Michael, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said the tabloid, which is distributed for free, has more than 10 million readers, making Vuk’uzenzele South Africa’s biggest newspaper.

Chabane said Research Tracker showed that a copy of the bi-monthly magazine, which has since been replaced by the tabloid, was read by more than five million readers.

“With double frequency, the accessibility can be attributed to be over 10 million people in the target market (Living Standards Measure 1-6],” he said.

In March, City Press reported that the government replaced its magazine, which was also known as Vuk’uzenzele, with the newspaper, edited by Vusi Mona.

The minister said the purpose of the publication was to give South Africans unmediated communication on government programmes.

The commercial media had structural and editorial limitations in conveying government information hence the need for Vuk’uzenzele, according to the minister.

Chabane also confirmed that Vuk’uzenzele would be published fortnightly from next year and have a print run of two million.

It currently has a print run of more than a million.

He said South Africa’s Brics partners – Brazil, Russia, India and China – also had government-owned newspapers.

Chabane dismissed suggestions that Vuk’uzenzele would be a government mouthpiece, saying readers do not see the government newspaper as propaganda.

“Consumers of this product do not see it as propaganda but rather information that empowers them to access benefits of the government,” he said.

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