Manyi to publish state newspaper
Johannesburg - The government is launching its own newspaper, to be published by spokesperson Jimmy Manyi, City Press newspaper reported on Sunday.
The government’s bi-monthly magazine, Vuk’uzenzele, would be turned into a monthly tabloid newspaper with a print run of two million from next month. Manyi planned to publish it fortnightly by March next year.
“The media is censoring a lot of government information,” Manyi told City Press.
“Niyasivusa ukuba sizenzele [You are waking us up to do things ourselves]."
The paper would be edited by former Beeld journalist Tyrone Seale, currently managing editor of Vuk’uzenzele magazine and the GCIS’s chief director of content and writing.
Manyi said the government would be abdicating its responsibility if it allowed editors of commercial newspapers to decide which government information was published. He said journalists came to government news conferences, where 10 issues were raised, but only wrote about one.
The GCIS had issued a tender for the newspaper, which would initially be a 16- to 20-page tabloid with a print run of between 1.7 million and two million. This would make it the biggest circulating publication in the country. It would cost the government more than R1 million to print one edition, according to City Press.
At Thusong centres
Manyi did not rule out the possibility of turning Vuk’uzenzele into a daily newspaper. He said the commercial media would give the government reason to turn Vuk’uzenzele into a daily by continuing to “censor” government information.
Vuk’uzenzele would be free and not compete with the mainstream media, Manyi said. It would be distributed at the government’s Thusong service centres.
“We want it on the streets, in every township and rural area. It will be bigger than all of you guys put together,” Manyi was quoted saying.
About 1000 posters would be distributed with each edition.
Vuk’uzenzele's staff would be responsible for the newspaper, but more might be hired. Manyi had not decided yet whether to sell advertising. Although this might reduce the financial burden on the taxpayer, it might “clutter” the newspaper.
“It might create confusion. Don’t be surprised if we don’t allow commercial advertising,” Manyi said.
The paper would be published in all 11 official languages.