Veteran reporter slams ‘all-white’ press club

2011-11-21 12:47

Veteran journalist and anti-apartheid activist Don Mattera on Monday launched a blistering attack on the National Press Club (NPC).

Mattera was speaking to News24 in response to an NPC “Black Tuesday” campaign to mark the National Assembly vote on the protection of state of information bill.

“Steve Biko must be shaking in his grave when he hears that a former all-white organ that helped promote the banning of Don Mattera and others is now in the frontline for democracy,” Mattera, a founding member of the Black Consciousness Movement and the Union of Black Journalists, told News24.

“And they’re using the word black and not white? That hits me.”

Mattera added that “it beats me how the press club can have an all-white membership and one Indian [Yusuf Abramjee] who is the chairperson.

“Who the shit are they?

“How can an organisation that is not borne out of the struggle for liberation, that is not borne out of the ethos of the black consciousness movement now lead Black Tuesday... people think I must support that?”

Mattera said however that he did not support the protection of information bill and that he was against anything “that gags the free flow of information”.

The 77-year-old, who has worked at the Sowetan, the Sunday Times and the Weekly Mail, went on to say that he and others had yet to be compensated for their activist work which involved him being under house arrest for 16 years and tortured.

He said it was ironic that those who never fought for liberation were now “ensconced” in the press club that was led by “pro-apartheid villains”.

The NPC’s chairperson said via Twitter that Materra had the right to say what he wanted due to freedom of speech.

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