Boycott 'immoral' City Press, ANC urges

2012-05-24 18:45

Johannesburg - The ANC has called for a boycott of City Press until the removal of the "insulting portrait" of President Jacob Zuma from its website.

This follows a call by SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande earlier on Thursday for a boycott of the Sunday paper while addressing the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) elective conference on the Easter Rand.

"The City Press newspaper, by continuing to exhibit the offensive painting has clearly shown its collusion to the indecent depiction of President Zuma which violates his right to human dignity," the ANC says in a statement.

"The City Press has therefore become a paragon of immorality, abuse and perpetrator of injustice and slander.

"Their refusal to remove this portrait from their website and their controlled social media is a clear indication that this newspaper does not belong to our shared democratic dispensation and values.”

The ANC also says City Press is "anti-ANC, the President, our democracy and the majority of South Africans".

"It is our view that City Press has placed profiteering and populism before the principles enshrined in our constitution. City Press has missed an opportunity to prove to this country that they are indeed committed to our Constitution and its values."

Deeply disturbing

But the National Press Club has hit back, slamming "attacks" on the media by the ANC and government.

In a statement, the NPC refers to the City Press boycott as well as GCIS head Jimmy Manyi's criticism of eNews for not broadcasting the breakdown of Advocate Gcina Malindi during the court case over the Zuma painting on Thursday as examples of attacks on the media.

Said National Press Club chairperson Yusuf Abramjee: "The court ordered the media locally and internationally not to re-play the footage. It is therefore disingenuous for Manyi to hit out at the broadcaster."

Malindi broke down during the case in the South Gauteng High Court in which the ANC and Zuma are seeking to have the Brett Murray painting of Zuma, in which his genitals are exposed, declared unlawful.

"The attacks on the media are uncalled for and it's an emotional response", says Abramjee.

"The matter is before a court of law and to call for a boycott of the City Press is inappropriate. It will spur on more emotion and anger.

"We call on the ANC to retract its statement. The ANC has a responsibility not to continue raising the temperature over this controversial issue."

City Press editor-in-chief Ferial Haffajee earlier on Thursday described Nzimande's call for a boycott of the paper as "deeply disturbing".

"He must be very angry and that saddens me," she said, adding: "I am devastated by this week, by our descent into defacement and boycott over discussion and debate."

She said she had never claimed that her or City Press' freedom of expression is limitless. "But our right to publish and to free expression is constitutional."

Read more on:    sacp  |  anc  |  national press club  |  ferial haffajee  |  jimmy manyi  |  yusuf abramjee  |  blade nzimande  |  media
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