Media reporting denialist: Presidency

By Drum Digital
08 March 2013

Some media groups are using "denialist reporting" to any reference about the impact of apartheid colonialism on South African society, the presidency said on Friday.

This was the case with reporting of President Jacob Zuma's speech to the National House of Traditional Leaders in Cape Town on Thursday, spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement.

"Such denialist (sic) reporting of what the president said infringes on the public's right to information," he said.

"The tendency to over-react to references to the impact of decades of apartheid does the country a disservice."

Such reporting had happened before.

"The presidency is concerned about the knee-jerk and ultra-sensitive reaction of some sections of the media... ."

Maharaj said that among other things, Zuma had said in his address that South Africa had emerged from a highly violent society, where any demand by the oppressed was met with violence.

"Some newspaper houses have run headlines taking the angle that the president blamed apartheid," said Maharaj.

"They omitted to give their readers an opportunity to read what exactly the president said about the need to rebuild our communities and create a more caring society."

In describing the impact of apartheid in his address, Zuma had said: "These incidents remind us that we come from an immensely violent culture. We survived a cruel system of governance... .

"The apartheid system could only be sustained through violence, and violence became entrenched."

Further, that when people had correctly demanded freedom and equality, the response was violence, murder and mayhem.

"For that reason, our struggle became deliberately a struggle to eliminate all forms of violence... We cannot turn our backs on that legacy of dignified, principled struggle for peace... That is why South Africans are outraged at the incidents of violence.

"However, in expressing our disgust, we should not lose sight of the fact that the overwhelming majority of the 52 million South Africans are peaceful, caring, law-abiding citizens," the president said.

Maharaj said Zuma had emphasised that the struggle sought to reverse the legacy of violence.

"Apartheid had a profound impact on our country. It will take years to reverse the legacy...." he said.

"To be able to do so, we should all accept the impact of the past, and work to reverse it and also to prevent its recurrence."

-by Sapa

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