City Press disturbed by boycott call

2012-05-24 13:42
Johannesburg - City Press editor-in-chief Ferial Haffajee said on Thursday she is "deeply disturbed" by the SACP's calls to boycott the newspaper over its coverage of the controversial artwork "The Spear".

"As an editor one tries one's best to be first with the news and to maximise your newspaper's impact. No one wants a boycott."

SA Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande made the call while addressing the National Union of Mineworkers congress in Kempton Park.

The Brett Murray work The Spear was on display in the Goodman Gallery in Rosebank, Johannesburg, until it was vandalised by two men on Tuesday. It shows President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed.

City Press drew attention to the exhibition, upsetting many South Africans by publishing a picture of the painting on its website, and then refusing to withdraw it when people were offended.

The newspaper argued the work represented "freedom of expression".

Haffajee said she had known Nzimande for many years and had always thought of him as a "man of ideas who loves to debate".

"He is someone you can sit with and talk to, which is why what he said makes me very sad."

She said Nzimande was a powerful person and, in the current economic climate, it was tough for any newspaper to deal with a boycott.

In a speech to the NUM Nzimande said: "Human dignity, especially black dignity, must be respected in this country."

Read more on:    sacp  |  city press  |  ferial haffajee  |  blade nzimande  |  zuma painting  |  media
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