News24

ANCYL won't back down on journos

2010-03-17 14:10

Johannesburg - ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu will not apologise for threatening to reveal personal details of reporters' activities, and has vowed to continue doing so following a complaint lodged against him on Wednesday.

"We will never apologise for telling the truth," said Shivambu, who had not yet seen the complaint of intimidation filed by a group of reporters, but listened carefully while it was read to him over the phone.

"As responsible citizens, we have got a responsibility to express our views. Freedom of expression applies to all people. Freedom of Expression does not mean that it is only the media that must write nonsensical allegations about political leaders.

"We have got a right as well to express whatever views we deem relevant and truthful."

Earlier, the reporters demanded Shivambu apologise publicly and explain how he got personal information he claims to have on journalists, and whether state resources were used.

These developments come after statements at a press conference about leader Julius Malema's personal assets, which included that journalists accepted brown envelopes, and had sex with politicians to get stories.

The journalists, in their complaint, alleged a dossier containing information about City Press reporter Dumisane Lubisi was offered to them with the threat of "you next" when they questioned its veracity and refused to publish it.

"We not going to back off from a gang who work with newspapers," said Shivambu, adding that ultimately the "Lubisi dossier" would be handed to the police.

"We are ready to clarify each and every issue and we are ready to expose journalists who sleep with politicians to get stories. We can give dates and times of journalists who have offered sex."

He denied they were in possession of salary slips, but said they could give "practical illustrations" of journalists offering sex for stories.

"We have complete knowledge - one of the people who have signed - one of the people there got a politician drunk - it was meant for story purposes. More than one of the reporters have slept with politicians."

He said attempts to raise these concerns with media watchdog bodies such as the Press Ombudsmen had not yielded any results.

Ombud Joe Thloloe confirmed he was considering a number of complaints against various newspapers lodged by the league, but that the processes have not been finalised yet.

Thloloe said the first complaint was submitted on January 20, and after the process of talking to the newspaper and to the league, the deputy ombudsman was in the process of writing the decision.

A second complaint was submitted on March 5 and they are awaiting the response from the newspaper.

"The system is fair to all the parties and we give them a chance to respond to all the allegations," he said.

The journalists who lodged the complaint were: Business Day's Karima Brown and Wilson Johwa; Independent Newspapers' Moshoeshoe Monare, Gaye Davis, Xolani Mbanjwa and Carien du Plessis; Mail & Guardian's Rapule Tabane and Mandy Rossouw; The Times/Sunday Times' Moipone Malefane, Sthembiso Msomi and Nkululeko Ncana; 702's Stephen Grootes; City Press' Moffet Mofokeng, Piet Rampedi, Lubisi, Japhet Ncube and George Matlala; Media24's Chandre Prince; and eNews' Hajra Omarjee.

The complaint was sent to ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, to President Jacob Zuma's communications advisor Zizi Kodwa and to Vuyiswa Tulelo, the league's secretary general.