Mantashe has mixed feelings on media

2012-05-21 22:34
Johannesburg - The ANC welcomed the recent report of the Press Freedom Commission on Monday, saying real progress had been made, but also rebuked some reporters for being lazy.

"There is general appreciation and acceptance of the outcome of the Press Freedom Commission by the African National Congress leadership," said ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe.

He noted the change in the way complaints and appeals were handled in the structures of the Press Council of SA, and said it was better that parties now had the option of taking court action if they lost an appeal through the council's process.

The ANC was also pleased that the public would outnumber the media on a an appeals committee.

However, a question about a painting of President Jacob Zuma's exposed genitals set him off.

"I read the view that the president brought this onto himself," he said, referring to an opinion piece by Avusa newspapers' editor-in-chief Mondli Makhanya.

He took exception to Makhanya calling Zuma a "stallion".

"A stallion is a male horse... that is insulting... it is rude, it reflects hatred, that is all it does."

Mantashe said he was looking forward to the next edition of the Financial Mail.

He could say "with my eyes closed" what editor Barney Mthombothi would have to say about the painting, he said.

Mantashe said he read newspapers religiously, but preferred talk shows where he found "a more balanced participation".

"You can even use it as a survey. Now I put more weight to that rather than one editor..."

It was "lazy" journalists that really angered him.

One journalist had reported that Zuma had left a particular meeting half-way through, but had not bothered to check that Zuma was on his way to catch a plane to Benin.

Another got the location of a meeting wrong.

"So my real gripe is when a journalist is lazy, when he doesn't check basic facts [that could be checked with a phone call]."

The next step regarding the PFC report was to recommend that the matter be taken to Parliament "for further engagement", Mantashe said.

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