City Press editor questions ANC's motives

2012-05-24 23:04
Cape Town - City Press editor-in-chief Ferial Haffajee on Thursday questioned the African National Congress' motives to call for a boycott of her newspaper.

In a statement, the ANC  called upon "all South Africans, members of the ANC and the alliance, to indefinitely boycott buying the City Press newspaper" until it removed images of a controversial painting of President Jacob Zuma, with his penis exposed, from its website.

This follows the party and the presidency hauling the newspaper and the Goodman Gallery, which was exhibiting The Spear, to court to try stop the two parties from displaying the depiction of Zuma.

Now, Haffajee, in a televised interview, in response to the party's statement, said considering that the image is now everywhere - on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia - it makes her think the call to boycott the newspaper is about more than just the painting.

She did not elaborate, but the newspaper has a reputation for shedding light on wrongdoing by members of the ANC and its youth wing, and has received tongue-lashings from the organisation before.

Along with the call to boycott the newspaper on Thursday, the ANC launched a scathing attack on City Press, saying it has singled itself out "as anti ANC, the president, our democracy and the majority of South Africans".

The party said that by continuing to exhibit the offensive painting, the newspaper has clearly shown its collusion to the indecent depiction of President Zuma which violates his right to human dignity.

'Paragon of immorality'

"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.

"It is our view that City Press has placed profiteering and populism before the principles enshrined in our constitution," the party said in a statement.

Haffajee, however, defended the newspaper's track record, saying that she will have the newspaper's coverage of politics analysed, and is convinced it would show that it is fair and balanced.

Earlier on Thursday, during the High Court hearing, a judge questioned why the ANC was still trying to have the painting banned, in light of it being defaced and it's consequent removal by the Goodman Gallery.

Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane asked the party's counsel, since the painting had been defaced, “is the relief you seek not academic?”.

She was not convinced that a ban would work.

"This image is already out there on the internet," she said, and asked if a permanent interdict was granted that forbade the display of the painting or copies of it, "how will this court monitor compliance?".

The hearing was postponed indefinitely earlier on Thursday afternoon.
- News24
Read more on:    anc  |  ferial haffajee  |  jacob zuma  |  media  |  zuma painting
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